Looking back over forty years of marriage, I’ve come to realize that being married with children is not necessarily fun; it’s actually hard work. But, it can be truly rewarding when done thoughtfully. I’ve also recognized that the empty nest is not always a one-time event; it can at times feel more like a revolving door. Yet through my experiences, I have learned a few things that might help others who face a recurring empty nest or any other form of dealing with adult children.
One major insight I have gained is: Always assure your children that you love them no matter what they may say or do. This should start when they are quite young, but can start at anytime. Allow me to illustrate with a personal experience.
Our daughter was a challenging teenager. After about a year of dealing badly with her, my wife said something that struck me like a hard hit baseball to the head. She said, “I’ve decided to just start showing and telling her I love her and that nothing she can do will ever stop me from loving her.”
What she seemed to be saying was that real love is NOT an emotion, it is a choice one makes and either holds to or lets it go. Love is something every person is in control of as it relates to others. During the next few years, our daughter tried all sorts of things that should have driven us further from her, yet we never responded negatively. We told her we still loved her no matter what. Eventually, she began to soften toward us and even asked if she could move in with us until she could get back on her feet after a bad marriage and divorce. She did, and it was an enjoyable experience.
During the next ten years she had a successful career as a hair dresser, gave us our first grandchild, and even finished college all on her own. When she was accepted into law school, we offered her the opportunity to live with us until she completed the program to help her afford to do that and to help with child care. Our reward? Well, duh! Our grandson living with us! Oh, and we also now have a great relationship with our daughter.
The point here is simple: love your children by showing and telling them how much you love them … whatever that means in your situation. After seeing the power of love, my advice is to never underestimate the power of real love … love you choose to show and verbalize every day no matter how young or old you or your children are.
[author] [author_info]About the Author
Herb Sennett is a writer and educator living in South Florida and can be contacted through http://www.herbsennett.com. His blog is at http://www.blogger.com/calmlyspeaking.