When I was a very little girl, it seems I had an extremely close relationship with my father. He would snatch me up, tickle me with his mustache, and try to give me kisses. In response, I would giggle endlessly and scream out, “No kiss me, no kiss me!” Little did I know that my father would walk out of my life when I was only four years old, never to kiss me again.
Growing up, my mother did her best to be affectionate with my brother and I. We held hands while walking, we hugged, and we would occasionally sleep all together in one bed. As we got older though, the affection seemed less and further between on all our parts. Life became busy and we focused on other things.
Through junior high and high school, I began to look for an outlet; a place where my desire for affection would be gratified. While I can say that I remained pure during all of my schooling, that doesn’t mean I was completely innocent.
I liked being around guys who were willing to pay attention to me. I looked for excuses to give hugs and be close to someone. I wanted to know that I truly mattered to someone, that I was worthy of their time and effort.
Jump to now… I am still a very affectionate person (much to my husband’s delight). I love to be held, hugged, and touched. I have found a guy who loves to show me how much he cares and in turns loves for me to show him.
Now, how does this at all relate to my kids? Simply this… I have known a great deal of women (and men) who have lacked affection in their lives; either from their parents or their spouses! The interesting factor is that generally the lack of affection stems from one place; CHILDHOOD!
It caused my husband and I to think. Would our children go looking for affection, if our home was filled with it? Would they feel the need to date at such a young age, if they were constantly being hugged and kissed?
While my mother was very affectionate with us as children, we were not as affectionate as teenagers (which is not entirely my mother’s fault; we probably didn’t initiate either). Why is it we often forget that teenagers need hugs too? Why do we allow them to pull away from us, instead of pursuing our children’s hearts?
I want to be purposeful about gaining the affection of my children. So, while they are young, I snatch them up and cuddle them. I find ways to tickle them, kiss them, rub their arms, pat their heads, gently tug their braids, sit cheek to cheek, and other lovely things of that nature.
When my children get older, there may be boundaries that they decide to set in place (“No kissing me in front of my friends, mom!”), but that will not prevent me from purposefully seeking them out. Whether they deny it or not, I think they will love being held and hugged. I think they will enjoy being cuddled, tickled, and kissed.
I pray that my children would not just know that we love them, but feel our love. I pray that my children would not feel the desire (as I did) for outside affection, but that they would gain all they need from our home.
Yes, one day my children will desire a Godly husband or wife (and they should!), but prayerfully it will be because that is the direction the Lord is leading them. It won’t be for lack of love and affection. It won’t be because their lives were missing something. It won’t be the need for attention. It will be for all the right reasons; a desire to share their lives with someone else and create a family of their own.
It occurs to me, as I type, that my brother and I are now grown and gone from my mother’s house. I wonder if she ever feels lonely or lacks affection, living by herself. I need to be more purposeful in my love for my mother; hugging and kissing more often.
Perhaps this will teach my children to remain affectionate no matter their age. So that when they are grown and gone, they will still remember to come back and hug their dear, old mom and pop. Perhaps they will one day repeat my words, but with a different meaning, “No; kiss me. No; kiss me.”
Are you purposeful in your affections towards your children? How so?