Can there be a greater love than a parent's love for a child?
The child loves the parent, of course, but he won't truly understand how powerful love can be until he has a child of his own.
We love our children, will do anything for them, and want only the best for them.
We want them to have health and happiness; a life filled with love, self respect, and purpose. We want them to live life fully, soak in life’s experiences, grow and love.
Parenting is a tricky business though. There's no guide for every situation. You have no choice but to wing it. Sometimes life gets complicated and messy. There are competing priorities. We do our best, and sometimes (many times) we fall short.
But in the end, it's all about the love we have. This comes to the fore when our older children struggle. There is nothing more painful for parents than to see your child in distress.
There are so many distractions, manipulations and power struggles in our world competing for attention, and it's hard for young adults to know which way is up, much less find their "true north" in life.
As those of us who have lived a few years know, many of the problems we experience are self-created. We go through hard times. We question the decisions we make. We make mistakes. But then we magnify our problems a hundred-fold when we are hard on ourselves. We need to free our children from beating themselves up when they experience setbacks.
So here is the message I want to give to my son. It is also my wish for all young adults having a hard time right now...
"Eric, take a few minutes each day and think about how much I love you. As you think about how much I love you, also love yourself as I love you. This is how you’d someday like your son to treat himself, and this is what I wish for you."
Be gentle with yourself. Look past your rough edges, because they will smooth themselves out.
Have patience with yourself, as I would have patience with you and as you’d have with others.
Don’t feel guilty; forgive yourself.
Most importantly though...
Remember that for as much as I love you, God loves you more, because God’s capacity to love is infinite. Bask in this love, like the warmth of the sun’s rays.
To The Reader...
My message to my son is my same message to you, and it's something I need to remember myself. Love yourself as you love your child, because this is what God wants for you. Forgive yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Love yourself.