Love is powerful! This statement has been proven countless times, not that it needs to be. Every healthy person needs to be loved and needs to show love. Love helps us live fuller, longer, happier lives. But love is not just a subject or a noun in a sentence. Love is action. Love is best when used as a verb.
Love comes to us and through us in many ways.
Clearly, the strongest love is Agape, or unconditional love. A parent will easily give their life for their child. A child will take care of a parent in sickness when the parent can no longer love them back. Brothers, who may fight among themselves, will strongly defend each other from any outside threat. Agape is a self-sacrificing love!
Men and the Three Types of Love
It can be interesting to observe men regarding the three kinds of love. They almost always show their Eros and Philos love. Eros love is almost all show, all action - full of acts of love. Philos love is identified with much action - hugs, bonding ceremonies, and special handshakes. But the strongest love of all, Agape, may often be the weakest love in terms of men committing to it with action. Love is most powerful when it is in the form of an act, when love is a verb.
We can discuss love all day yet never express love, but loving and showing your love is powerful indeed. When a father is listening to his child, he is showing love. When he takes his child fishing, he is showing love. When he says, “I’m proud of you!” he is showing love. Children need this from their father as much as they need it from their mother. Being loved is an essential need of all of us, but particularly important to children.
A smile, a hug, a pat on the back are the signals that remind your child of your love for them. Even disciplining is a sign of love, an act that shows you care. You may know you love your kids, but do they know. Show them a little Philos love occasionally, give them a little of you! It’s what they want most. The more they see it, the less they will need to see it, and their confidence and mental health will soar!
Love is a good subject, but love is even better when used as a verb.
“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were, fathers would do it.”
The Golden Girls
This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. When Anna Jarvis started her endeavor to honor mothers in 1908, she had no idea what it would turn into. Actually, she was appalled at how commercial it became and tried all she could to stop that trend. The commercialization of Mother’s Day is not going to stop. But it is also the day that Anna Jarvis intended – a day to honor the cornerstone of families, our mothers!
We know that Moms and Dads often show caring in different ways. Generally, Moms soothe while Dads prepare. Moms protect and Dads challenge. Moms are often overlooked and taken for granted by their children, while Dads who interact tend to be more appreciated, especially when compared to less-involved dads.
Moms give us the tenderness we all crave and require. When in need of sympathy or understanding, nine out of ten times we go to our moms. They seem to have this magic power to know what to do. And when in danger, a mom perks up like a bear protecting her cubs. There is no power known to man stronger than a mother defending her child.
Moms are the best! Houses may be built by fathers, but homes are made by mothers. Fathers may provide, but mothers make the most of it. And when fathers don’t provide, the mothers can and will do their very best without their help. My mom did this for her six children, raising us all virtually by herself!
I have, been raised by, lived with, helped conceive, known many, and are related to, wonderful mothers. My mother may admit she wasn’t perfect, but there was no way she could have been. Raising six kids alone and working full time at minimum wage only allows a parent to survive, provide, and give love to her children. She did that heroically!
My wife, Kathy, has been a mom above all other things. She had a career she put on hold for 15 years to stay home with our kids. Not all moms can do that, nor should they have to. But we are happy it worked out for us. Kathy took the kids everywhere and gave them so many experiences. Because of her, our children had happy, carefree days. She made my role as dad one I could enjoy so much more because Kathy took care of so many of the kids basic needs.
My two daughters each have two beautiful children. They are both modern working moms but both have a day or two off during the week because of pre-school children. They are married to great dads and they have both learned from their mom. At their homes, I have seen numerous books on parenting (even mine). It is so wonderful to not have to worry about your grandchildren—being able to spoil them because mom and dad are in full control.
It seems like moms are there for their kids 99% of the time. My sisters and some of their daughters raised their children with little or no help from the fathers. I don’t claim to know why that happens as often as it does, but I credit moms for toughing it out when parenting is more difficult than it should be, because it is never easy!
I hope all mothers out there are recognized for all their sacrifices! And please know, there are sacrifices that they have made that we will never know or understand.
Families are the backbone of our country and mothers are the backbone of our families.
PS. Happy Belated Mothers Day to you wonderful moms out there!!
“A father yawns when asked about reading to his kids. A dad yawns while reading to his kids.”
I have an affliction. I discovered it some 40 years ago when I read “I am a Bunny”, the first book we bought for April, our first child. I could not get through two sentences without yawning wildly – long, deep, eye closing, quivering yawns! I didn’t think much of it until it hit me again just a few sentences later. (I’m actually yawning now, just thinking about it.)
Now I’m reading to my grandchildren and it still happens. I can’t explain it. I try to talk through the yawns so the kids don’t get bored waiting for me to recover. But all they hear from my gaping mouth is, “My ame is ickoyas, I… ive ina ha-ha-ha-whoa wee”. (Translated: “My name is Nicholas, I live in a hollow tree.”) But, despite my all-but-smooth delivery, I brave on because reading to children is so important to their development.
Men who don’t enjoy reading to their children are missing not only a great bonding experience, but are failing in the important role of nurturing. Reading to your kids expands their vocabulary and sparks their imagination. It is a great way to connect with them. Babies love your attention and the sound of your voice is soothing and reassuring. Toddlers like the stories, eventually connecting the words with pictures. Books become a symbol of love, learning, and relationships, hopefully becoming an important part of their entire lives.
Children learn to love the sound of language before they even know about the words on the page. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. When the rhythm of language become a part of a child's life, learning to read and reading to learn will be natural steps to follow.
Reading together is fun family time; a time to not only share your passions, views, and establish values, but also a time to listen and learn about your kids. It creates a time for children to ask questions as well as an opportunity for parents to show their kids how important they are to you.
Yes, I’ve struggled mightily to not yawn as I’ve read to my children and grandchildren. But they have never complained and always would be patient with me. The memories of the many books, some having been read over and over again, are precious to me. They may not remember those times as well as I do, but they have surely benefited in many ways, as I have benefited especially in deep breathing!
“A father looks to the mom when the kids are chaotic. A dad is part of the chaos.”
There are not many worse situations in a family than a missing father. But a close second is a present, but non-participating father. Some men are not comfortable being active parents for whatever reason. Others have demanding schedules that make it difficult to be as involved as they may like. A few are selfish, interested only in themselves.
Sure, maybe a passive or non-involved father provides for the family and is a male symbol. And surely he loves his family. But does he show his love? Does he understand the vital role he plays in his children's development? Boys need a proper role model and girls need to be loved by, and treated with respect by, a loving male.
When a mere father comes home to his family, no one seems to notice. Some may even cringe knowing they have to be careful not to upset their father. But when a dad comes home, there are are hellos, hugs, and general happiness.
Noise can bother some fathers, even if the noise is laughter. A good dad will become a part of, and cause for, the laughter. He also is the one who properly corrects his children when necessary. That responsibility is never delegated.
When a mother yells at her kids to settled down, let the dad be the cause of the chaos, playing, teasing, or wrestling with his kids. But to say "settled down, your bothering your father", is not the sign of a happy family. Of course, there are times that kids get out of control while one of their parents are in need of quiet and cooperation. I don't think it is too difficult to figure out.
Be a part of your children's life! School, sports, games, activities, their friends, etc., these are all areas with which fathers should be involved. Make playing in the backyard with them a frequent activity. As happened to the baseball great Harmon Killebrew when he was a kid - it's a really good sign when a dad and his children get in trouble together!
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