How kids define love

“We have a very strange, awkward and confusing relationship. I think my mum doesn’t behave as a mother because most children gravitate towards their mother for love and affection and support and understanding but I don’t remember getting that from my mother. I feel that a lot of my efforts are overlooked because she’s busy with her life and I am nobody”. J. Stone.

These are the chilling words from a daughter who has access to all the material things that make life comfortable but is still very angry and discontent because she lacks the relationship every child desires to have with a parent. As children grow up, they seek their own independence and their own path in life and sometimes those journeys bring anger and resentment because they realise that they lack the emotional energy and life skills that would carry them through the storms of life. One key to building strong families is so simple but difficult for many parents to follow through with. It doesn’t take any special training — only a mom or dad who knows it’s important to be available for their kids. Did you know that children spell love differently than most adults do? Children spell love as TIME. Time is a concrete, measurable expression of love. When you give someone the gift of time you are saying “I value you” and “You are important to me.”

Every parent’s dream is that  their children will grow up to be cherished friends but sometimes things don’t go as planned because life just gets in the way and in the busyness of life we end up compensating the time we ae meant to be with our children with material things.

A group of professionals posed the question "What does love mean?" to a group of 4-8 year-olds and the answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.

  • "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
  • "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
  • "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and the little stars come out of you."
  • "Love is when mommy sees daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."

An adults interpretation of love is

“Sitting through boring school assemblies just for your child to see you”

“Watching Cbeebies and you know all the characters even though you’d rather wish to be watching a movie”

“Love is playing football with your son even when your knees are giving way.”

“Love is pretending to be tooth fairy when you’d rather keep the coins to buy milk”

Below are a couple of tips on how to make time for the people you cherish most.

Cut Back on Commitments
It’s amazing how we desperately want to have children and yet when they arrive, we find it difficult to make time for them.  I don’t know of very many families today that aren’t overcommitted. We normally joke and say that “if only we were given 36 hours in a day, I could achieve all that I have to do”. I believe that even if God is gracious unto us and gave us more hours in the day, we would fill up the time with more commitments as if we are commissioned to save the world.  It is even more difficult in this day and age where the normal 9 -5 careers may not be enough for a family to enjoy a bit of luxury. However, one can agree with me that, depending on your priorities in life, there are so many commitments that may be important but not necessary. The most common commodity that we have been given in this life is TIME and the quality of your life is determined by what we use it for.

Doing things together
When 1,500 school children were asked the question, “What do you think makes a happy family?” the most frequent answer was “doing things together.” Over the years I’ve learned that in life it’s not so much what we do for our kids that impact them. It’s what we do with them. When you think back to the happy times of your childhood what kinds of memories come to mind? When you get together with family or childhood friends and recall the “good old days” what is it that made those days good? J. Allen Peterson has written, “If I could start my family again, one thing would be changed. I would play more with my three boys, and cultivate more family sharing experiences. By sharing good times a family builds cohesiveness and unity. They learn to enjoy each other and compensate for each other’s weaknesses. The play of children is something of a rehearsal for life, and parents who share these times of play will have a great opportunity to teach their children how to live and also pass on your values in the process.

This is not the time to play the blame game or to walk down guilt alley because lost time can always be redeemed no matter the age of your children. To everything there’s a season and a time for everything. A time to plant and a time to pluck, a time to breakdown and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to keep silence and a time to speak. I hope that you will know what is best to do in each occasion and use that to control what happens with the little slice of eternity that has been given to you.