Most things that we seek can be bought or sold. Yet there is at least one thing that we all crave and need in order to feel fulfilled and connected to the world we live in and it can’t be purchased or sold. Many of us would do almost anything to experience this in our lives. Some squander it–abuse it–down play it–some even do their best to eliminate it from their lives. Many unspeakable acts have been blamed on this or because we don’t have this. It can also be given away. It can be used as a weapon to hurt or even destroy other people. It can also be used to support, encourage and even heal others. It is powerful enough to change someone’s world just by hearing the word spoken aloud. If you haven’t guessed by now what I am referring to is love.
Many of us have substituted money for declaring our love believing that if we give something of great value or something that the other really wants that that will show them how much we love them. How many of us have said “he must know I love him. Just look at all the things I have given him or done for him”? We don’t seem to have, or make, or take the time to stop and simply say “I love you”. We have no difficulty being rude or insulting or condemning or mean or spiteful or hateful but when it comes to expressing to someone our love for them we clam up. We often feel embarrassed when we are overheard saying I “love you”. In some societies it is considered to be a sign of weakness to show or demonstrate love or any other emotions for that matter. How sad.
This declaration of love is so important to a father/son relationship regardless of whether or not dad is in the family home or not. Our sons need to know, hear, see and feel that they are loved, valued and considered important to their fathers. And they need constant reminders as well. Gifts are great unless they serve as bribes or substitutions. Telling our sons that we love them describes our connection and our relationship in a way that is special. It means that those feelings are just between us. Unfortunately, this declaration is often held back for ‘just the right time’. There is no ‘just the right time’ at least not in the relationship that I am alluding to here.
What follows, in most cases, is a mutual respect for each other and most importantly a sense of trust that needs to be absolute if other aspects of the mentoring process are to be accepted, incorporated and demonstrated in a young man’s life. Love and trust are the key elements needed for any young man as he goes about understanding the transition from boyhood to manhood. Love and its power transcend all other things. By knowing love their lives can be more certain and awe inspiring but without it their lives are usually quite miserable, confusing and hopeless. I believe what we are seeing in many young men today is a testament to this statement.
If you are trying to strengthen or re-establish any kind of relationship with a son who has been or is currently fatherless understand that all things that I have written about to date are important. The most important of these, in my mind, is not only being able to express your love but also being able to accept the love that is being offered by others. The only catch to this is that some other work needs to be done first so that when the time arrives to state or re-state your love for your son he will believe you when you say it. That will take some hard work and perseverance depending on how damaged the relationship is or was in the first place. If you haven’t read my other posts please find them in the archives on this site to gather a more clear idea of what I am talking about.
So don’t tell him you love him hoping to mend a fence or you are think this is what he wants to hear. Tell him you love him because it is what you feel in your heart. It’s honest and true. And in all cases say it often. It just feels good.
That’s the way I see it anyway, Jim
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