It was eleven in the morning on a Sunday. My oldest child, who is nearly six, had just finished her breakfast and was about to scurry off to play with her one-year-old brother.
Being on my normal table manners duty, I called out to her “Don’t forget to put your plate in the sink!” She hurried back, picked up her plate and started walking to the kitchen. Halfway to the kitchen she turned around, looked at me, said with a sweet smile “I love you,” and then ran off.
This small moment became larger as I reflected on the parenting my wife and I have done over the first six years of our daughter’s life and the impact we may have had in that seemingly small moment.
It is reassuring to think that for our daughter to express her love in such an unprompted way, she must feel the love that we have for her. In contemplating this discovery, I decided to pay extra attention to some of the small things our daughter says and does. The way that she wants to share a story from school with her mother, or the way she will kindly ask if we are okay when she notices that we look tired; it all comes back to modeling the same empathy and love that we give her. [Read more…]