A loved child makes a well-adjusted adult

One of the highest compliments I have ever received was from an 8-year-old. She was one of my students from the year before. As I walked down the hall one day, I heard her say to her new teacher,

"That's my teacher from last year. She loves me." I don't remember telling her verbally but somehow I must have had conveyed my love to her.

Feeling unloved is the most serious threat to our children today. Runaways are plagued by feelings of rejection. Foster homes are crowded.

Now more than ever we need to affirm our love for our children and incidentally, for one another.

A happy childhood is every child's birthright. That happiness does not depend upon material things. It depends upon the parents and their love. Large families and low finances cannot be blamed. Loving godly parents have for the most part loving successful children. Yes, sometimes we do have problems and sometimes our children rebel. It is in those times that we cling to Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (KJV)

After teaching for thirty-one-years I noticed how many of my students were loved. I also observed those who were not loved. I saw the devastating effects in those lives.

Sometimes just little insignificant things mean so much in affirming a child's love. I once went into my 7-year old son's room for prayers and good nights. Somehow we ended up in a pillow fight. Later when I went to bed that night, I found this note pinned to my pillow: "Dear mommy, you are the best mommy 'cuz you pillow fight with me. I love you! From Lane.

Lane is grown now with grown daughters but I can still hear the teasing giggles and see the pillow throwing. I know his girls know they are loved.

Look back on your childhood memories. Who was the person or persons who affirmed love for you? If it wasn't your parents, maybe it was an aunt, grandparent, or a teacher who encouraged you. You needed that love and that anchor to keep your life going. A support system is vital, even for adults.

Children who have not known love from an earthly father find it difficult to know the love of a Heavenly Father. I discovered in my career that unloved children react one of two ways. One is extremely aggressive, the other extremely withdrawn. Such children are difficult to reach but they can be reached with love.

Love is the answer. It boils down to 1 Corinthians 13:13: "So these three things continue forever: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love." (NCV)

Fathers, don't be afraid to hug your sons and tell them, "I love you." Mothers, telling your children they are loved reflects Psalm 113:9: "He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children." (NIV)

My husband says, "Everyone should have eight hugs a day." He says this because he hugs everybody. Something about touching … a hug or a pat on the back conveys love and caring. This is important for children and grownups as well.

A loved child makes a well-adjusted adult. A well-adjusted adult makes a law-abiding citizen. Law-abiding citizens build a nation.

Hug your child today!

Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is:

joan@yucca.net

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