I don’t know about you, but I never knew I could love anything like I love my kids. Each one.
The other day Jack asked me if I loved Fury or him more. This was after he snuggled into me and whispered a hushed confession, “I love you more than Dad.” It was as if a burdene had been lifted off his guilt-ridden soul. It’s not right to love someone more. “You’re so warm,” he continued, “and squishy.” Okay, so – I could have lived without the last bit. But, he was talking about how he relishes scooching close and burying his feet under my legs. So what if I’m a bit squishier than his fit father … it’s on my list of follow-through’s.
I laughed and hugged him. He loves his dad. But somewhere along the way he has equated certain things that I do as signifying more love.
“I love you both the same,” I answered his question about love. “Different, but not one more than another.”
“That’s impossible,” he said.
“Seems like it,” I tell him. “But it’s true. I would never have imagined that I could love five different people so much.”
Every parent feels that way. Every parent would do anything for our kids. We want life to go well for them. And, there’s something about our kids that moves us to love in some interesting ways. Ways that actually aren’t very loving.
Affluenza Questionable methods of love that resulted in the internationally-covered case of “Affluenza.” Attorneys claimed that a young man whose drunken driving killed four people was a victim of permissive parenting. The young man ended up receiving punishment that supported the claim that the child is as much a victim in the horrific event as those whose lives his actions stole. And as sickening and hard to believe as this extreme example is, can we not stop for a moment and see the fingers pointing back at us as we shaking-head point at those wealthy enablers? Where might my permissiveness fueled by well-intentioned love actually be hurting more than helping?
Hit & Run in Texas As if on cue, a hit and run accident led our local news. An elderly gentleman lived to tell, as did the traffic cameras that captured it all on tape. Police found the car with dented bumper and recently replaced windshield at the home of the suspect’s parents. Police arrested him last night as he was boarding a plane for Jordan.
Child Celebrities gone wild: We’ve already talked about the MIley Cyrus (When Kids Go Wild – A Path Paved with “Just this once..”) road to riches. Our friend Margie Sims sent me this thoughtful commentary on Justin Bieber:
When I first heard the news about Justin Bieber’s arrest for DUI and drag racing, I do what I always do with that category of news: I ignored it. I try very hard to keep pop culture out of our home, as it is, in my opinion, one of the most dangerous enemies of the family. And I’ll give you a short list of reasons why.
It misrepresents reality, creating discontentment with normal life.
It paints a false picture of happiness.
It is usually lewd, rude and crude.
It applauds the poorest role models on the planet.
I had to address this particular incident, though, because Bieber’s issues are deeper than a DUI–his first crime, I reminded my kids, was his underage drinking at 19 years old.
Chances are, though, that his success will continue, as that is just the way our culture is. Rebellion is rewarded, even celebrated.
We are on our fourth snow day today here in Virginia. Long days at home–cooking, playing games, watching (old) movies. “Home is real life to me. I love just being together, talking, baking, watching movies, even cleaning,” Mary and Emma, 16 and 15, expressed to me separately after being snow bound all week. It made my heart soar to hear it, as not all teenage girls are so fond of their families.
Their comments reminded me–who cares about the latest antics of the rich and famous? We have our own list around here–The Real Life List: faith, fun, hard work, respect, common courtesy, love.
It’s the list that lasts. It’s the list that matters.
American Idol … This is bur that got under my saddle and started me thinking (again!) on this topic of the way we love our kids:
I so wished that Harry had gone one step further and turned to the parents sitting behind him – especially the father – and asked the question. Every parent could use a friend to walk along side and ask the question – implore us to slow down and consider if the ends justify the means…
- a daughter singing degrading lyrics to for fame
- a son given freedom and a long leash so he can fit in? be popular?
- a daughter without boundaries, practically naked, flaunting immoral moves so she can be known
- fixing a windshield and buying a ticket abroad to avoid consequences
What do our actions teach our kids. What do they communicate about self-worth and where to find it? I don’t know. But it takes baby steps to get wherever we’re going. Thank you to the Margie Sims in my life and the Harry Connicks of the world that ask the tough questions and snap us back into reality and realization that success isn’t always defined by ending up on “top.” And that we need to be careful how we love our kids.
Thanks for walking the road with me.