As we learn more and more about the amazing love of God for us as his children, it’s easy to sometimes become discouraged about how we fail to show the same love to our own children, or the children under our care.
Yet, as God’s forgiven people whom God has called his children, we too can seek to love our own children in a way that glorifies God. We can’t give our children as much love as God has given us, but we can express the love we have through many different ways. With that in mind, here's five ways to show love for your kids
1. Give them attention
When you spend time with your kids, put away your smartphone! Give them eye contact when you chat with them. Let them enjoy your undivided attention, and they will feel your love.
2. Protect them
Some of that protection is obvious, such as when we hold their hands crossing a busy road. But other protection is just as important, such as when we give them boundaries to stop them hurting themselves and making stupid mistakes.
3. Provide their basic necessities
Our kids have grown up to expect meals and clothing and shelter (and often many ‘normal’ extravagances too!). But whether they realise it or not, giving them these essentials is an act of love.
4. Support them and assist them
Helping them with their homework is not necessarily an obvious display of love, but when you help them learn the things they missed or misunderstood in the classroom, you show them practical love.
5. Give them lots of affection
Sadly, genuine affection is missing in so many families! Yet, it’s really important to give physical touch to your children to show them you love them. Physical love can be difficult - of all of these five forms of love to our children, it is sometimes this one that we find hardest.
If you’ve grown up in a ‘stiff upper lip’ culture, where appropriate touching is awkward, then it might be particularly challenging to break the generational cycle of ‘hands-off’ parenting.
Physical contact from us is important for our children: hugs, kisses, pats on the back, arms around the shoulder, butterfly kisses, squeezes on the shoulder, and tickles … these are all great ways to show physical love to our kids.
So, if you didn't grow up in a family that was physically affectionate towards you with appropriate touch, then know that it’s not too late to show this love for your kids. Just do it! Once you have hugged the first time, you will want to hug again and again.
You’re not God, and that’s OK
I often wish that I could show my own kids the same love my heavenly Father has shown me. Especially when we read in 1 John 3:1:
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
It is truly amazing that God would love us, whilst we were still sinners. But even more amazing is the fact that he would choose to call us his own children!
Yet, not only does our heavenly Father provide us with inspiration, he also forgives us for when we fail as his children and as parents of our own children.
And that’s what I call ‘true’ love!