I love summer.
I love being with my kids all summer.
But, I always know when it’s time for school to start –
it’s not a yearning for them to be away
or a desire for a mommy break
it might be a little of a desire to have a cleaner house
or a more set schedule
but what it really is
is a realization that the kids are fighting nearly non-stop and need a break from each other!
The last couple weeks have been rough. REALLY rough.
And not just on the fighting kid front – a number of other things have thrown their hats in the ring that have made me rotate between wanting tear my hair out and sob non-stop or laugh insanely at the total wackiness of life.
Let’s say, I’ve laughed a lot – or at least tried.
Anyway, the other day I remember hearing someone somewhere say that in order to raise happy healthy children their parents need to tell them they are loved on a daily basis.
I agree with that – and my husby and I make sure we tell them (& we tell each other) numerous times a day how much we love them. But, I wasn’t convinced that it was helping much on the happiness level – especially when listening to the 5-year-old howl because the 8-year-old won’t stop staring at him – as though his eyes were burning a hole into his forehead and sucking out his brains!
But then, last night when one daughter was having a really rough time with one son it hit me.
I might tell them I love them all the time – but are they telling each other?
I hear constant barbs and mean words tossed about among occasional kind phrases, but after listening for a while it hit me in the gut that they don’t tell each other “I love you.” At least, not very often. Could those three little words really make that much of a difference coming from a sibbling?
I decided to test it out. I snagged my 13-year-old and whispered a few moments with her about my plan and challenged her to be sure each day to tell every one of her siblings “I love you” and I encouraged her to use their names in the phrase too. I asked her to try it out on her brother whom she was struggling with at the time and see what happened.
She looked rather dubious – after all, this was some crazy Mom scheme- but being a good sport she gave it a try – it was even heart felt! Her brother looked a little surprised. I encouraged him with a whispered “what do you say when someone says ‘I love you’?”
A little smile played around his lips, and he said, “I love you too.”
The grin on the 13-year-old was amazing. The 8-year-old was beaming and neither remembered why they were so angry in the first place.
Then she tried it on her sister who had the same surprised reaction. Again, I gave the gentle prompting and the love was recipocated with grins from bother girls.
This was too good to pass up! I challenged all the kids to tell each of their siblings “I Love You” every day.
On the way home from Stake Conference as the 2 older boys were going at it, I reminded them of the three most important words they could ever hear or say. Before I knew it they were giggling and tossing back and forth numerous “I love you”s to each other.
I can feel a difference.
It’s only been a couple days, but the feeling in our home has completely changed.
There has always been love in our home – but now it is being more fully expressed by our children – and that is making all the difference. There are still squabbles and fights – but at least they know they are loved by each other.
The greatest gift a family can give to each other is love.
It’s not enough for just the parents to express their love on a regular basis to each other and their children – or for the children to express their love for their parents. To truly have love at home, they need to express it to each other too – every day. I feel so blessed to have that little nugget of wisdom. It seems so simple – yet it is making such a blessed difference in our home.
There is truly beauty all around when there is love *expressed* at home! 😀