Love Your Children, and Love Them Well
It's not enough to just love our children, we have to learn to love them well. But what does it mean to 'love them well'?
One of the most important things I have learned in my 9 years of parenting so far is --- it's not enough to just love our children, we have to learn to love them well. What does it mean to 'love them well'? Well, if you approach love not just as a noun or a verb but as a skill that you can learn then you can learn how to love them better. Let's say you wanted to learn a new skill. Say you wanted to learn to bake, how to play tennis or how to drive or any other skill, you expect a learning curve. But you also know that you can learn to do it better. The more you practice the skill, the better you can get at it. It's the same with loving the people we love. There's a way to get better at loving them. We can learn to love them deeper.
Well, what does loving someone well look like in real and practical terms?
For me it means 1. being present in the relationship with them as opposed to being on autopilot mode. You have to be here now with the people you love. Don't let the hours, days, and years go by and you aren't fully engaged in your relationship with them.
2. It means being able not just talk to them but more importantly, to LISTEN to them. As parents we are often the ones talking to our kids, explaining to them or teaching them. But what we usually miss out on is having to listen and hear what they want us most to know. There's a quote by Lyndon Johnson, "You aren't learning anything when you are talking." It is in listening to our loved ones that we really learn where they are coming from and what they may want us to know or understand.
3. Loving people well also means being able to SEE who they really are rather than who we want or need them to be to us. Before we can love them we have to see them, to see who they really are. Otherwise, we might be in love with our own projections and our illusions, never really seeing who it is who is in front of us. Authenticity doesn't happen out of the blue. We have to work at it. If we want our loved ones to live their authentic selves we have to show them that there is love whether they are being easy and maybe even more when they are being difficult. Because if we can show them we love them through the good and the bad times, we lessen their reasons to hide who they really are from us.
So far those are the ways I have learned to love the people I love "well." No doubt I will learn even more through the years that I have them with me. And that's the most comforting thought --- that our ability to love people well adapts with who our children are becoming. It's not stuck at all. It can grow and deepen and widen our hearts if we are open to it.
About The Writer
Delamar Arias is a DJ, writer, podcaster and media personality. She was part of one of the longest-running morning shows on FM Radio - ""The Morning Rush with Chico and Delamar"". She's currently a hands-on mom of 3. You may follow her at @delamararias on Instagram.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.