You do many things for your children because you love them. You work hard to provide for them. You manage their education. You teach them the things they’ll need to know in life. You protect them–from others and themselves.
And this is good. Because someone has to do it.
But it’s also not nearly enough. Love, true love, demands more. Your kids deserve more.
There is a beautiful exchange in Greta Gerwig’s coming of age movie, Lady Bird:
Sister Sarah Joan : You clearly love Sacramento.
Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson : I do?
Joan : You write about Sacramento so affectionately and with such care.
‘Lady Bird’ : I was just describing it.
Joan : Well it comes across as love.
‘Lady Bird’ : Sure, I guess I pay attention.
Joan : Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?
One of the most important forms of love you can provide your kids is to pay attention. To give them your most precious resource–time. We’ve talked about this many times: that love is spelled T-I-M-E. That the greatest gift is *belief.* That when you love someone, you want to be there for them, get them things.
Your kids might want a mountain bike or to have their college education paid for. But what they need is to be seen. To be understood. To be a priority. They need you to notice them, to hear what they are saying–in words and behavior. To get what is going on.
They will appreciate the other stuff. But they will not forgive you for missing this.