The Message of Love

Contributed by Jody McVittie, MD Executive Director, Sound Discipline

In less than a week it is Valentine’s Day – and our culture can go a little bonkers trying to send the message of love. What is love anyway? Is it something that we save for one special day? Is it about what we give, who we are or perhaps how we “hold space” for the other person?

Brené Brown, in her book The Gifts of Imperfection talks about love as sense of belonging. When you are loved, you don’t need to change what you do to “fit in” – you have a sense of belonging for being the person you are.

Underneath all the hype and commercialism, perhaps Valentine’s Day could be the opportunity to commit to one small practice that will increase your connection with your child. It might be an opportunity to invite her into her full self and her sense that she belongs just for who she is. Here are some ideas:

– Write short notes and put them in his backpack, lunch box or under his pillow on a regular basis
– Go on a “date” with your child
– Have a story night to share stories about your family (now or from when you were growing up).
– Let him have feelings of all kinds
– Send “I’m thinking of you” texts.
– Ask for hugs
– Really love yourself so you have “room” to welcome your child.
– Touch tenderly – Ask her to teach you something.
– Listen for feelings first and be slow to “fix” her problems. Listen, listen, listen.
– Have faith in her and show it by making a promise to worry less.
– Get goofy and play with her.
– Read
– Celebrate mistakes (yours and hers)
– Look at old family pictures together and share memories
– Laugh together
– Have dinner together
– Take a walk together.

Is there one here that sounds like fun to you? Could you put it into practice by doing it on a regular basis?

I’m hoping that you have moments of joy and connection next week and throughout the year.

For more ideas on connection and encouragement check out the earlier blog.

Judy Ford’s books, How to Love a Child and How to Love a Teenager are short and lovely resources as well.

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