We are wired for relationships.
We need it – not just to survive but to thrive. The connection we have with our children and they with us, are at the heart of our most basic human needs. But like all good things, if we are not intentional about taking care of this relationship, it can easily fall down the wayside.
Recently, on the last day before the Easter holiday, the girls came home with a seed which they planted at school. Excited to take care of it, they positioned it on the window sill. And for the next few days, I could see how much attention and intention went into caring for that little seed. In an attempt to follow their teacher’s directions to the tee, they kept it moist by using a little spraybottle. There was lots of fussing around those little seedlings. Then we went on a week-long trip to Centreparcs Belgium. And the seedlings were left on the window sill. Needless to say, neither survived. And my 6-year old’s soul were nearly crushed too. How could she go back to school without a sprouting seedling?
Just like with those seedlings, the outcomes of the care and effort that we invest into the connection with our children aren’t immediately noticable. Do you remember those early days when all you did was feed, wind, change and rock your newborn baby? But then, one day your baby starts to look intensely into your eyes, and smiles. Your heart feels like it wants to jump out of your chest and you wonder if you could ever love anyone more.
In a time in Israel when the Judish culture were ruled by regulations and commandments, the Pharisees thought they could drive Jesus into a corner. They asked him what the most important commandment was. His answer was clear and concise: Love God, love your neighbor and love yourself (Luke 10:27)
And that ONE statement lies at the heart of our Christian belief. God intended for us to have a relationships that embody all of our hearts, souls, strength and our minds. With Him. With those around us. And with ourselves.
I am convinced that the time and energy spent and the commitment we make into growing a strong relationship with our kids are one of the most important investments we’ll ever make – for our children and for us. Not only is it a “nice-to-have”, I believe it’s vital.
This is why:
Children who have a deep and strong relationship with their parents (in the literature this is referred to as a secure attachment) are:
- Better able to establish and sustain friendships
- More empathetic
- Less aggressive
- More able to regulate their feelings
- Showing creater creativity
- Better able to cope with life’s challenges
In a world where so many things get in the way of relationships, being intentional about developing and growing a deep connection with our kids, can be a game-changer.