4 Words Most Children Are Starving To Hear From Their Parents
I’ve worked with college students for the past seven years and I can tell you one thing has not changed regarding the needs of students. Students still need affirmation from their parents.
At the beginning of the school year we would take the students on a retreat. During the retreat we would cover a variety of leadership topics but we would also cover spiritual and emotional topics as well. During one session we would ask the students to write down one thing they wish their parents had told them more often. Several of them would admit they wished their parents would tell them they loved them. Aside from this, the overwhelming thing they wished their parents told them was, “I’m proud of you.”
In fact, about 80-90% of the students every year mentioned this as their number one wish. It seems children and young adults want to know they are accepted by their parents. It sounds silly but in a peer pressure driven world they need a place they can go to for unconditional love and acceptance.
I don’t think anyone is exempt from this type of emotional need. It’s so important even Jesus needed to hear his Father’s affirmation. We get a glimpse of this in Luke 3:
21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
Did you catch that? The Lord told Jesus he loved him and was pleased with him. In fact, Jesus was thirty years old when this incident happened. We never outgrow hearing these words from our parents.
It’s sad but I can hardly remember the times when my parents said these four words to me. My parents weren’t bad people. Like most of us, they assumed I knew it.
I’m trying to communicate this clearly to my children as well. I try to remind them of this when they accomplish something, but I also say it at other times just because I want them to know I’m proud of them simply because they are my children.
My affirmation for them isn’t tied to their accomplishments, but it’s tied to my love for them. I want to communicate that I accept them unconditionally.
When’s the last time you told your children this? If it’s been a while then I suggest you start today.
If the Son of God needed to hear these words, then how much more do our children need to hear them?
How about you? Will you take the challenge?
It’s never too late to start!
I'm a pastor, writer and serial encourager. I like to help people to grow in their relationship with God. I live outside of Atlanta, GA. I've written a book, Stubborn Faith: 30 Day Devotional Guide For New Growth. It's available for download on Amazon. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @ericspeir