This post isn’t about politics, religion, gun control or page views. It’s about love.
To give some background. I have a PhD in counseling, worked in a psych unit of a children’s hospital, worked in a residential treatment center for adjudicated youth, counseled kids and their families at a private practice and have four children of my own (15, 13, 8 & 6).
I love working with children because they are malleable and willing to learn. More times than not I’d counsel with a “broken” child only to learn that the parents were the ones that needed my help. Sad, but true. Whether “parent” means a mother or father, aunt, or a wise sage of a grandmother doesn’t matter. What matters is love. Being a parent is a privilege, not a right. With that privilege comes great responsibility.
If you love your kid you would: [list type=square_list]
- realize that they’d rather have you at their piano recital or football game than off on some business trip making money to buy them the latest gadget.
- know not only their friends names but their friends parents.
- read to them every night when they are young.
- share with them the things that are important to you along with why.
- tell them you love them only when you mean it.
- teach them the importance of being nice to everyone.
- understand, with depth, what they are “in to.”
- talk WITH them, not AT them.
- give them opportunities to fail.
- show them by example how to deal honestly with others.
- let them know that THEY are your world.
- be honest with them at all times.
- strive to teach them something every day.
- not coddle them or be overbearing.
- share with them your aspirations, failures and successes.
- answer every single question they ask or help them discover the answer if you don’t know. Anyone can say “I don’t know.”
- let them know when they disappoint you while also letting them know that you still love them.
I don’t claim to have all the answers but I do know what has worked for me and those I’ve interacted with as a counselor over the years. The time a child spends in their parents care is the most important time of their lives. It’s the time that they learn, both good and bad, wile developing their personality. Once that child walks out your door they exercise their free agency over and over again. As a parent you can only hope that your impact has been positive and that your child knows of your love for them.
I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose a child, though I’ve counseled those that have. Empathy can only take you so far. I hope I never have to experience that. My thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by the shootings in CT.