“Dad, let’s go back to Hong Kong!”

My daughter who was about 6 year old told me when we were looking at pictures from our trip. I asked her what about Hong Kong she enjoyed. I thought, maybe it’s our time in Ocean Park. Or was it the train ride from station to station? Or it might have been buying her tea set in the night market of Mongkok.

Her reply to my question surprised me. She said that it was when we played “Hook” in our tiny room in Shamrock Hotel. I tried to remember what the game was. It was when we were in the room and she was acting like Wendy from the movie Peter Pan. Her brother Nathan was Peter Pan and you would probably be able to guess who’s the bad guy (Hook) in the game. That would be me.

What I realized was that it wasn’t because of the shopping, nor the amusement park that she wanted to go back to Hong Kong. It was simply because of the time spent together.

When we are available for our children, it gives them a sense of importance. They feel that they are prioritized and loved. To them, love is spelled as T.I.M.E. And this would include ballet recitals, athletic events, meal times, graduation from summer workshops.

On the flip side, when we don’t make ourselves available, we communicate that yes, they are important but other things still come ahead of them. Thus, conveying that they are not THAT important.

That’s the funny thing about the discussion about quality and quantity time. I can’t tell my kids, “Alright, daddy has 15 minutes with you here in Mcdonald’s play place. Let’s make sure this is quality time. C’mon, let’s make this memorable.” It will sound conjured, manufactured and artificial. But quality time springs from quantity time. And I realize this is such a precious commodity these days.

A quick practical application to help us gauge our time with our kids is to ask them straight. “How can I be a better dad? What are things you enjoy? What do you consider fun?” Take notes and do it! There’s really no other way.

I love what Barbara Johnson said,

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow,
you have to be in their lives today.”

———-

NOTE: This is part 4 of a 4 week series on Capturing Your Child’s Heart.
To read week 1, click here. (Affirmation)
To read week 2, click here. (Acceptance)
To read week 3, click here. (Affection)

This article, week 3 is on Affection.

PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edwardmusiak/

I don’t know if you grew up in an affectionate environment but I certainly didn’t… at least in my childhood days. And studying in an all boys school didn’t help much. To be affectionate is seen as weak, faulty and lame. Thank God, when my mom became a Christian, we started becoming more expressive with our affection.

Somewhere in our wiring, God designed us desiring to feel loved and liked. Everyone wants to feel like they are loved. If they don’t get this from their home, they will certainly try to get it somewhere else.

Affection validates your statement that says, “I value you.”
Affection can be physical, verbal or through our actions. Affection is not only for parents to be shown to their children but even for husbands and wives. When I show my affection to my wife, Jenn, this can speak volumes to my children. It says to them, “Dad loves mom and is committed to her.” Nothing builds greater security than that.

One practical way to show affection to your kids is to give them a hug. I realize that it’s natural for some while for others, it is way out of the norm.

Listen to what hugging can do.

Hugging is healthy. It helps the body’s immune system, it
keeps you healthier, it cures depression, it reduces stress, it
induces sleep, it’s invigorating, it’s rejuvenating, it has no
unpleasant side effects, and hugging is nothing less than a
Miracle drug.

Hugging is all natural. It is organic, naturally sweet, no
pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients and 100
percent wholesome.

Hugging is practically perfect. There are no movable parts, no
batteries to wear out, no periodic check-ups, low energy
consumption, high energy yield, inflation proof, nonfattening, no
monthly payments, no insurance requirements, theft-proof,
non-taxable, non-polluting, and of course, fully returnable.
(source unknown)

According to an article on Huffington Post, here are 7 reasons why should be giving more hugs.

1. They make us feel good.
2. More hugs = lower blood pressure.
3. They alleviate our fears.
4. Hugging is good for our hearts.
5. Adults may actually benefit for from hugging.
6. Hugs are natural stress relievers.
7. Well hugged babies are less stressed as adults.

Try it today. You’ll never realize the magnitude of its dividends until years later.
Hugging your kids today is a major investment for tomorrow.

—————

NOTE: This is part 2 of a 4 week series on Capturing Your Child’s Heart.
To read week 1, click here. (Affirmation)
To read week 2, click here. (Acceptance)
This article, week 3 is on Affection.

PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/david_mz/

 

I served as a Guidance Counselor for a school for several years concurrently while I was a Kids Church pastor. I remember when a young girl came to my office alarmed and panicky because her parents told her that if she didn’t make it to first honor, they will cancel their family trip to Hong Kong. For a 9 year old girl, that was a lot of weight to carry on her shoulders. Imagine, all your siblings will get mad that they won’t get to see Mickey and ride Ocean Park’s Hair Raiser roller coaster just because she didn’t make it to first honors.

I had to talk to her parents and let her know how burdened their daughter felt with that condition. I appreciate their humility for acknowledging their mistake merely wanting to inspire not knowing it was bringing the opposite effect.  They apologized to their daughter and changed their stand.

Acceptance is embracing people for who they are rather than what they do.
Our children need to feel that we accept them whether they get first honor or a failing grade, made a 3 point shot or complete miss the rim, make it to the cheer dance team or get cut from the team.

When we show unconditional acceptance, we give our children a sense of security.

What we are communicating to our kids is this: “I don’t love you because of what you do or what you accomplish. I love you because you are my child. Our love and affection towards you are not based on grades, performance, accomplishments or even behavior.”

We live in a highly performance oriented society. If we get first honor, we are rewarded. If we make it to varsity, we become the favorite in the family. If we win in the student council, we end up being the topic in the family reunion.

That goes on through adulthood. When we land a good job, we are the jewel of the clan. When we achieve something that none in the family has achieved, we become highly favored.

That is why we have a lot of frustrated and badly hurt people because they can’t seem to win the approval of the people they dearly love.

In the process, our kids end up feeling unaccepted, insecure and lack a sense of belongingness.

Obviously, the counter balance is for our children to not strive or endeavor to be the best at their field.

But what I am saying is that as they desire to excel, we appreciate their praiseworthy attempts than criticize for not making the cut.

Acceptance says “I love you no matter what.”

Jesus showed us unconditional acceptance. He didn’t die for us after we started obeying. In fact, the Bible says in Romans 5:8, “He demonstrated His love to us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

He accepted us way before we were worthy of being accepted.

————–

NOTE: This is part 2 of a 4 week series on Capturing Your Child’s Heart.
To read week 1, click here.

PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/serendipityfoto/3730898356