Saw this quote attributed to Margaret Mead on someone else’s blog today:
“I was a wanted child, and when I was born I was the kind of child my parents wanted.”
This blogger was was thinking about her own children, and what that message might do to help them grow into secure and productive young people with confidence in themselves and their value as people. I instantly agreed.
It did get me thinking, though. My child isn’t stroller-sized any more, and neither are his buddies, but I think they still have doubts about how much they are wanted- loved – by their parents.
How different would our world be if every parent worked to be sure that every child heard, every day, in whatever love language penetrates most deeply into his or her heart, just how treasured they are?
Even when the cute baby grows into an angry, complicated teenager who speaks before thinking.
Or when the play-date friends turn into young people making scary decisions and no longer sounding or looking anything like their former childhood selves
And especially when the people they look to for acceptance outside the family are not willing to say it: You are the kind of person we want.
Perhaps the hardest parental lesson of all is that whatever kind of child you are given, and whatever kind of toddler, tween, teen, young adult, parent and person they become, they really ARE the kind of person who craves and deserves love.
I know- there are families that are broken, and parents who are negligent (even downright abusive). I know- there are children who reject the love of one or both parents. I know – there are parents who are doing all they can to provide for their children, but it leaves little time and less energy for those small moments that speak love in vast quantities. I know.
And it is for all of those reasons that we as communities of faith must make good on our promise to be the village that raises every child who passes through our doors- baptized or visitor, cute or difficult, similar or different from us. And we must be sure to love our neighbors – and their kids. Every day. Letting them know that they are every bit as precious as our cars, flat screens, and iPods. And then some.