I stopped her as she crossed my path in the hallway, gave her a big hug, and “mommy loves you.” She stated “I love you too Mommy.” And then she skipped off on her way.
I have seen children skipping many times in my life. But the significance of a skipping child has recently riddled my thoughts. A skipping child is a happy child. A skipping child is a loved child. A skipping child has peace within.
How often a tender word, a simple hug, has brought on skipping feet. As my children have grown, the skipping has become less and less common, but I know the inner warmth felt by a moment of being seen and shown love lingers, because it is the same feeling I understand when my husband stops me in my path for a moment of affection.
Although most of us adults have completely outgrown the inspiration to skip in expression of our feelings, the feelings do not slip us by. When given consistent and faithful affirmation of being loved and noticed in our busy day, it balances our step in a very good way.
All that said to point out the value of taking a pause to show a moments affection to those in our lives throughout each day.
Consistent affection builds stability of the long term love we know others have for us. It confirms to me that , “yes” I am loved. “Yes” I am seen. We adults need it. Children need it. And children need to see it in their parent’s relationship as well. Relationship security and trust is built brick by brick through our faithful, daily treatment of each other.
How often I have been told to seize the moment as my children’s childhood slips through my fingers. Seizing the moment is a classic and admirable phrase, but backing up a bit more, moments cannot be seized without purpose and planning. We purpose to maintain health by building healthy eating habits over a period of time. We purpose to have a great harvest by spending a little time every day in the garden, watering, pruning, and pulling weeds. We cannot seize anything without a purpose to do so. Habits and plans must be formed for us to accomplish any goal.
- Build habits of affection into your life. Do not pass a loved one in the hall, especially a spouse, and let him by without a kiss. Greet each child in the morning with a snuggle, hug, or kiss. Take a moment longer on a busy morning to snuggle with your spouse in bed. Take a nap with a child on occasion. Read books to children while holding them, not while they are beside or across from you. Always kiss your children goodnight. Plenty more tips could be added and catered to each family, but I will stop at that.
- Prioritize the giving of affection. Do not ever withhold affection. If a child asks for a hug or leans into me in the middle of my work. I always pause (unless it is dangerous that they cannot be near me), and give that child a moment of my time. I do not ever push a child away or ever tell them I cannot hold them. If I must keep the child at a distance from me for safety reasons, I quickly snatch them up as soon as the dangerous work is done. I have had a little one sit and wait a good ten minutes for a hug from mommy. That shows you how valuable affection is for the soul.
- Keep the channels of affection open. So often little children do naughty things that make mommy or daddy cross. It is crucial that after a just punishment has been served that the child be embraced, forgiven, told he or she is loved, and the relationship restored completely. I feel very strongly about quick punishment and quick reconciliation. God does not withhold himself from us once punishment and forgiveness are given. I feel it is very wrong for me as a parent to withhold an affectionate relationship with my child as well.
- Learn to accept affection. I am a busy person, sometimes it is difficult for me to value the importance of receiving affection from others when it is given to me. I might have my arms full of folded laundry and on a mission to deposit the load in the closet when my husband stops me for a bit of a snuggle. I want to finish my work before fully accepting the moment, but have learned that it is not only very important to give my husband the moment, but also that it is important for my own heart as well. I need to take in the love being offered to me and treasure it, far more than I need to be putting laundry on the shelf.
- Make plans for the sharing of time with others. I am currently taking my oldest daughter out every Saturday for a Bible study and coffee. She loves this time with her mommy. My husband will often plan take one of the chidlren out alone to go shopping, get lunch, or watch a movie. Even when my husband and I will get a sitter and go out alone together, that moment cannot be seized if it isn’t planned. We put affection on our calendar. We set aside time for it. We make arrangements for special times with those we love.
I understand that everyone is not inclined to show affection and love in the same ways, but as we each know what shows love to someone in our God given circle, we should certainly figure out ways that would show another person how loved they are to us. The outpouring of affection would be sporadic at best if we relied upon our emotions or given time. If affection is to truly portray the depth of love we feel for someone, then it must b purposed, planned, and given room to exist on a consistent basis. Affection is truly a beautiful way that we can show our deep love for each other on a daily basis and we are wise to lean into it as a sweet tool of showing love to those in our home.