“I’m going to love you no matter what.”
That is the essence of being a good dad. Our kids need to know that we are going to love them no matter what, because they are going to go through some tough stuff in their lives. Friends will turn on them, bullies will pick on them, their hearts will be broken, and that’s all before they get out of diapers! It’s easy as adults to forget the massive changes that children go through from birth to adulthood and the crazy feelings that accompany all those changes.
I’m in the midst of this with my kids right now. And, you know, I love them to the core of my being. But I worry that they don’t always know that. Kids can be insecure. It’s not enough to tell them once and leave it at that. They need to know – They need to feel it, as my friend Evan says, in their gizzard – in their heart of hearts. They need to feel our love from the tops of their gel-spiked hair to the tips of their toes. If they don’t feel it in their gizzard, they will feel like they are in a leaky rowboat on a stormy sea. I don’t want my kids to feel like that. I want them to feel like they are in a world-class sailing ship with lots of sails all pointing the same direction and carrying them to their destiny. To feel like that, they need to feel it in their gizzard that they are loved.
You know that they test us, right? They are always testing us to see if we still love them, no matter what. So, tell them. Hug them. Kiss them. Snuggle them. Listen to them. Talk to them. Ask forgiveness when you screw up. Look at them. Play with them. Discipline them. Guide them. Is this starting to feel like a big job yet? Good, because it is. And it’s critically important.
It’s also worth it. Does your love pass the gizzard test?