Love leaves lasting impression on children

By Joan Clayton: PNT religion columnist

One of the highest compliments I ever received was from an 8-year-old child. She was one of my students from the school 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 conveyed my love to her.

A feeling of “lack of love” 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 each other.

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 get into rebellion. It is in those times 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 31 years, I noticed how many of my students were loved. I also observed those who were not loved. I saw 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 goodnights. 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 Mommie, you are the best Mommie ‘cuz you pillow fight with me. I love you! From Lane.”

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

Look back into your own childhood memories. Who was the person or persons who affirmed the most love to 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 One is extremely aggressive, the other extremely withdrawn.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.

Psychologists agree a successful marriage is easier for those couples who were loved and nurtured in a loving home.