It’s almost Christmas, and I have a challenge for you fathers, young and old: speak your love to your children. By nature, most men are less willing to communicate what’s in our hearts for other people. Our inclination is to show you how we feel about you. And that mode of operation is wonderful. It’s how things get done. It’s why we work, create income, provide food and shelter, and protect against harm – those are all the results of love in action.
But kids need both. They need to see you working and acting in a way that shows your love for them. But that’s not enough. They also need to hear you say that they are the joy of your heart, the lifeblood that runs through your veins. They need to hear that you are always in their corner and always will be, come hell or high water. In the end, actions speak louder than words, but when it comes to those we love, we should give them both.
I believe the best definition of love is “doing what’s best for other people”. Notice that the key aspect of that definition is that love requires “doing”. There is no mention of how you feel. You may feel positive emotion towards the person that you love, and you may not. Ultimately, your feeling does not dictate whether you love them. Your love is seen in how you act. But, we have to remember that speaking and communicating are actions.
If we are really going to do what’s best for our kids, we have to tell them that we love them. We must communicate that there will be times when we’re angry, upset, disappointed, and frustrated with them, and they will be the same with us. But our kids must understand, because of our actions and our words, that those feelings have nothing to do with whether we love them.
A child who sees his father work for the child’s benefit day after day, month after month, and year after year will be set up for success. A child who sees that AND is regularly told by his father that he is loved and treasured is positioned even better.
I get it that communicating what’s in our hearts is not easy for all of us. I also don’t care. One of the fundamentals of manhood is willingness to do what needs to be done, regardless of how it makes us feel. So, this Christmas season, man up and express your heart to your kids.
This will be easier for father with younger children, but it is no less important for fathers with teenagers. In fact, it may be more important for those fathers. Teens are in the toughest years of their lives. They are rebellious and things between you and them may be very rocky. Tell them anyway. They need it. And, regardless of how they respond, they want it.
I picked Christmas for this challenge because it’s a happy time anyway. You’ll have plenty of time with your kids at a time when they’ll be happier, more excited, and more positive than usual. During the course of that time together, there should come a moment in which it will be very natural for you to communicate your heart to your kids. Seize the moment. It won’t be a perfect moment, but seize it any way. If the right moment doesn’t come, create it. Look them in the eyes and tell them what’s in your heart. It may be awkward. You may not feel comfortable. And who knows how they’ll react.
None of that matters. You’ll have given them something that they need, which is exactly what it means to love them. And loving your kids . . . that is is the man’s life. Merry Christmas.
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