MENOMINEE - They come without instructions. Many times they cry, whine, frustrate, and yes, humble us. Yet, in spite of all of the trials and tribulations, they are truly life's "greatest gift" - children.
What do our "greatest gifts" need to grow into great adults? Some may say food, shelter, clothes. In essence they are correct; but I am writing about a different kind of food. It is not the food you can eat; rather it is food for the soul. The name of this food is love.
Some equate love with successes and accomplishments. True love does not measure; it is unconditional. By unconditional, I mean the child is loved for who she/he is rather than if she/he is successful or not at what she/he does.
You see, children are like sponges and plants. For example, as sponges and plants are given water, you can see their transformation. The same goes for children; love is that water, and it transforms them and they begin to flourish.
Love transcends all of the other emotions. It builds versus tears down, encourages versus discourages, nurtures versus neglects, and accepts versus rejects. The following acronym L.O.V.E. may be one of many reminders on how to keep focused while spending time with a child.
1) L - Look - for opportunities to teach and nurture.
2) O - Overcome - the impulse for conditional love.
3) V - Variety - come up with a plethora of various ways that you can give your child the feeling of being loved.
4) E - Encourage - a continual barrage of encouragement and guidance.
These are but a few examples but a few examples/suggestions. Our most "precious gift" can only truly develop by feeling love and being loved.
Dan Paul is the administrator at Menominee Catholic Central Elementary School. His columns, which explore family relationships, are published monthly in Lifestyles.