Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Winning Their Hearts


I see the same reoccurring theme with parents that have managed to develop and maintain deep and  meaningful life long relationships with their children.   
There is a very unique bond these families have, a bond that brings them together and keeps them close even after the children have grown.
If you were to write a parenting "how to" with their secret trick it would be the shortest book ever, consisting of only one sentence.  It would simply read, "There is nothing more importance than winning your child's heart".

I think that children should be born with a warning label that reads:
"Warning: If you don't win the heart of your child, someone or something else will."

Understanding the foundation of what it takes to win these little hearts is simple and obvious, but sometimes it is the obvious that is so easily overlooked.  I believe that by  following the three A's  we will win the greatest treasure on earth.....our children's heart!

So what are these magic three A's??
Affection,  Attention &
Affirmation

When we meet these emotional needs of our little ones, a deep, natural and mutual respect develops.
Anytime we put quality ingredients into something we produce a quality product, this is true everywhere in life and it is no different in child rearing.

Now, I said "understanding the three A's is simple and obvious," however implementing them can be quite different.
The first A could stand for Amore (the Latin word for love), but love by itself isn't enough. Our children need more, they need affection.
Affection is when we express our love through our action.  It isn't enough for our children to just hear that  they are loved, they need to physically feel it... daily.  We can never assume that these little ones "know" how we feel about them.  We must freely give them affection even when they aren't seeking it.

The next A is for attention, something we all know our children need.  Most of us have every intention of giving our children all the attention that they could possibly desire, but life tends to get in the way.  It is so easy to put off our children until "tomorrow" but it won't be long until our little ones stop counting on "tomorrow" to every come.  It is easy for us to use the excuse, "it isn't the quantity of the time we spend together, it is the quality."  Well, to that I say, you are only half right.... it is the quality but it is also the quantity, they are equally important.  
Children are smart and they realize early on that people make the desires of their hearts their priority.  How easy it is for us to sometimes confuse our needs from our wants, leaving our little ones craving attention.

The final A is for affirmation, a basic desire inside all of us.  Everyone needs to feel valued, needed, and that they have a purpose.  Our little ones have so much to share with us, so many stories, ideas, feelings and concerns.  They need to know that the words that come out of their hearts go directly into ours.  How often do we give them our undivided attention looking into their eyes as their words flow from their little mouths?  t Sometimes it is so hard to turn of the demands and chaos of the world so that we can even hear them speaking.
Most of intended to.... we plan to... 
but minutes turn into hours, hours into days and before we know it, our best intention are left just that....intentions.  The problem is that our little ones get tired of waiting on us and eventually they loose interest in sharing their hearts with us.

I wish that I always got it right....
I wish that I could focus my life so intently on my children that I never miss an opportunity to win their beautiful little hearts.


Oh how I do love those moments when I do get it right.... those moments when I can SEE that I am winning their hearts.  I have seen it in light that shined from my son's face after I said, "I believe you," when he insecurely asked, "Do you believe me mama?"  I've heard it in my daughter's voice in the way she said, "I love you mama,"  after I responded with more compassion than she had anticipated.  I feel it in the special kisses of my sweet little girl who often struggles with being able to give them and in the way my baby girl tugs my legs in desperate attempt to be lifted into my arms.

We may not ever have it all together
but we will always get it right if we never give up.


Psalm 127:3-5 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.




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