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What is a Dad………….Lessons From The Delivery Room

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Not all men who have fathered a child are dads. Being a dad—an honest to goodness, authentic, true and bonafide  dad—means much more than genetic parentage.

thumbnail.aspxIn the first place, a dad is a friend—even when it’s not convenient. For instance, one morning I went down to the lake near my home to watch the fishermen. There, fishing along the rocky bank, were old men with skinny, hairless legs protruding from faded denim pants; young boys with their shirts off, laughing, casting their lines frequently; large women, patiently engulfing their small wicker chairs; all types and sizes of outdoorsmen.

Among them sat a large and muscular man. And straddling his massive knee with spindly legs was a small girl, dishwater pigtails falling from under a straw hat. The girl had both hands wrapped around a long cane pole. One of his hands covered both of hers, while the other rested on his knee. The two of them sat there quietly, watching a red and white bubble bob in the water a few feet from shore.

His open tackle box displayed the gear of an experienced fisherman: flies and plugs for bass, trolling gear for lake trout, and a large assortment of streamers to lure the wily German Brown.

But today it was mudcats.

That large man with the little girl on his lap was a dad. He cared enough about his daughter to spend time with her on her terms, not his. He didn’t take her fishing so he could go fishing; he went fishing so he could be with her, to do something she would enjoy doing.

That’s one way to separate the fathers-in-name-only from the dads. Too many men are willing to be a dad only when the children are going an adult direction or when they share the same interests, hobbies, or skills. But a true dad builds a relationship that includes the child’s own interests and level of understanding.

One father I know used to spend an hour a day with his boy, playing basketball. On the surface that fathers-day-poem-daughterseems admirable—until you realize that it was the father, not the son, who loved the sport. This father’s childhood dream was to be a basketball star. He never made it. And so, because he wanted his boy to succeed where he had failed, they drilled on the basketball court every day.

The son did become a star—a high school all-star and a college hero. But while gaining a star, the father lost a son. Instead of building a healthy relationship, their time together actually drove father and son further apart.

The quality of the time parents spend with their children is as important as the time itself. When parents become rigid or demanding in order to gratify their own egos, or for any selfish motive, they destroy the very relationship they are trying to build. And being a friend to children doesn’t mean, of course, that dads need to be silly or immature. Children must also learn to respect their parents as the competent adults they have become.

Another requirement of dad-hood is that quality which blends authority and unconditional love to make dad both a respected authority and a loved companion to youth. Most fathers do all right on the stern side of this balance. Of course, it takes a little sternness at times to preside over frolicking pre-adolescents and presumptuous teenagers. But real dads realize that rules are made for the benefit and progress of the children, not for their condemnation. There is a time to be stern and a time to show love, perhaps even a time to bend the rules once the lesson is learned.

10359Take, for example, one situation I remember where a dad—call him Bob—had to have an especially large amount of wisdom. Larry, Bob’s oldest boy, had just obtained a driver’s license. Bob had established rules for the use of the family car, such as obeying the law, driving safely, and returning home on time. Disobedience meant forfeiture of the car’s use for two weeks.

The week of the junior prom, however, Larry received a ticket for speeding. There was a decision to be made, and not an easy one. Would Larry remember the lesson better if he were denied the use of the car for the prom? Would he become more responsible if he had to pay such a high price for disobedience? Or would he become resentful and rebellious, thus defeating the purpose of the rule?

Bob struggled with the dilemma for a couple of days. And then from somewhere way back in his own memory he recalled the significance of driving your own car to the junior prom. He postponed the start of the two-week penalty until the day after the dance.

Bob bent the rule, a rule that he himself had made. But by being flexible he established something greater than fear and power—love and respect.

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True dads must also be an ideal for children to look up to. In a society where drugs sometimes have become a _65521179_man_holding_new-born_baby-splsubstitute for character, where some politicians seem to be bought and sold on a daily basis, and where a father’s role in the family has been eroded, children need, more than ever, a solid example of male virtue and honor. A father whose example is consistent with the precepts he teaches can do more to influence the lives of youngsters than almost any other factor.

To a boy, a dad should be a goal, a potential achievement. And to a girl, a dad should be the hope of things to come, the model for a future dad for her own children.

It’s not easy to be a dad. It requires the dedication and fortitude of an army general and the patience of a saint. You’ll find dads splashing around in the baby pool at the city park, throwing a dollar’s worth of Ping Pong balls to win a twenty-five cent goldfish at the carnival, and poised on hard chairs at piano recitals. You will even discover them changing a diaper, or telling soothing stories during a midnight thunderstorm.

And when the chips are down, you’ll see them with an arm around the hunched shoulders of a boy who sat out the whole game on the bench, or sitting in the ice cream parlor over chocolate sundaes with a girl just a little too young to accept a date to the school dance.

Whatever the price, there is no glory, no distinction, no award that will ever dethrone the title of Dad. When a man becomes a dad, he has already received one of the highest honors bestowed on man.

 

 

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Let Me Share The Following  by Scott Greer

Reasons I Love Being A Dad. . .

__________________

I love loving their mother and learning to love her more day after day, year after year.

I love the home movies I experience. The live ones. The in house “reality shows” if you please. Kids raggin’ on each other, telling mom and dad stories one more time, hugs at the door, serious discussions begun spontaneously, phone calls to say “Hi, I love you, ” and small hands pressed on a glass door to see the wonder of all wonders: the neighbor’s black cat.

I love happy birthday songs: songs sung and received in love.

I love watching my kids love their kids.

I love the smiles of children and grandchildren.

CB003629I love good memories, family pictures on the walls, and cards from “Father’s Days past. “

I love the never ending pilgrimage of learning, growing and developing with my children.

I love helping when I can and hurting when I can’t. No, I don’t enjoy the pain. It’s the honor of trying to help because “I’m a dad” that I enjoy

I love hearing “Mamma” sing songs to her grandchildren or read to them. I love sensing her joy as she interacts with them and relates to me one more among many, scenes in the stories of their lives.

I love being called “Pap. “

I love sharing the lives of the kids with their mother and sharing their mother as she walks with them during each phase of the varied journeys of their lives.

I love watching the joy in the eyes of my wife as she talks on the phone with her children. (A *very* frequent event in our home I might add!)

I love giving the grandkids back to my kids just about the moment I think I’m going under (or moments thereafter!).

I love hearing the laughter of family in the other room: always, always a very special delight!

I love hearing my wife pray for the family she loves so dearly and serves so faithfully.

I love being a friend as well as being a dad.

I love being a father-in-law and being friends before the term “father in law” becomes a reality.

I love memories of my dad loving me.

3283266057_d472c57859_zJust think of the changes there have been for parents  over the last 100  years. History tells us that fathers, whatever their stations in life, were not in the past involved with their newborn infants. The picture of the father pacing the floor – well away from the mother in labor – was a common one. The new baby, neatly wrapped up, was shown to him, and out came the cigars or beer. The baby was then returned to the women to be cared for.
The children as they grew up were very much ‘women’s work’ and even in the thirties or forties people marveled at the father who took time to have a game with his child or showed a son how some piece of machinery worked. Dads could be there for a bit of rough and tumble, but anything bordering on feelings or emotions or physical care was strictly taboo This division of childcare continued until the women’s movement began to take hold and, in one way or another, to filter into different areas of family life. But as women – many of whom would have been astounded to be thought of as Feminist – began to view their life differently, then the men were necessarily affected, and changes came about. Even if not into the ‘bra burning’ rebelliousness of the sixties, many women did begin to shift their opinions about what dad should or shouldn’t do with the kids. Childcare was never to be seen in the same way again.

    • thumbnail.aspxWith two caring parents there is not one right way and one wrong way, but two different ways.
    • How you act when you are with your children teaches them how to act when they grow up.
    • Share your ideas about parenting with your children’s mother if possible. Listen to her ideas.
    • Fathers can show their sons how to grow up to be loving and caring and able to get on well with others.
    • Girls and boys both need time with their fathers.
    • Show your children that men can be gentle in a tough world.
    • Fathers have an important role in teaching their children that it is all right for men to cry or to ask for help.
    • When fathers are involved in daily care of their babies it builds special bonds that are important to children.
    • As they get older children need to know that you like them, even if they choose different ways of doing things from you.
    • Even if you don’t see your children a lot, you can still build happy memories in the time you have with them.
    • Children need love – love to children means time and attention.

 

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This is a guest post from Leo Babauta of  Zen Habits  a father of six children.

Being a father can be a wonderful thing, once you get past all the gross stuff, all the stressful events, the loss of privacy, and the bewildering numbers of ways you can screw it up.

But other than those few things, fatherhood is wonderful.

Every dad has fears that he won’t be a great dad, that he’ll mess up, that he’ll be a failure. It comes with the job.

Unfortunately, what doesn’t come with the job is a simple set of instructions. As guys, we often will skip the manual, figuring we can wing it but when things go wrong, it’s nice to have that manual to go back to. Fatherhood needs that manual.

thumbnail.aspxAnd while, as the father of six children, you might say that I’m qualified to write such a manual, it’s not true — I’m winging it like everyone else. However, I’ve been a father for more than 15 years, and with six kids I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, what’s important and what you can safely ignore (unlike that odd grating sound coming from your engine).

What follows are the fatherhood tips I wish they’d passed out to me upon the delivery of my first child. It would have helped a ton. I hope they’ll help you become an even more awesome dad than you already are — feel free to refer back to them as a cheat sheet, anytime you need some help.

 

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The Awesome Dad Cheat Sheet……18 Fatherhood tips They Should’ve Handed Out At The Delivery Room

 

  1. Cherish your time with them. One thing that will amaze you is how quickly the years will fly. My oldest daughter is 15, which means I have three short years with her before she leaves the nest. That’s not enough time! The time you have with them is short and precious — make the most of it. Spend as much time as you can with them, and make it quality, loving time. Try to be present as much as possible while you’re with them too — don’t let your mind drift away, as they can sense that.
  2. thumbnail.aspxIt gets easier. Others may have different experiences, but I’ve always found the first couple of months the most difficult, when the baby is brand new and wants to feed at all hours of the night and you often have sleepless nights and walk around all day like zombies. It gets easier, as they get a regular sleeping pattern. The first couple of years are also a lot more demanding than later years, and as they hit middle school they become almost functioning, independent adults. It gets easier, trust me.
  3. Don’t look at anything as “mom” duties — share responsibilities. While there are a lot of good things from our grandparents’ day that we should bring back, the traditional dad/mom split of parenting duties isn’t one of them. Some men still look at certain duties as “mom” duties, but don’t be one of those dads. Get involved in everything, and share the load with your baby mama. Changing diapers, giving baths, getting them dressed, even feeding them (you can give them breast milk in a bottle).
  4. Love conquers all. This one sounds corny, but it should be at the center of your dad operating philosophy: above all, show your children love. When you’re upset, instead of yelling, show them love. When they are thumbnail.aspxupset, show them love. When they least expect it, show them love. Everything else is just details.
  5. Kids like making decisions. While it is easier to be an authoritarian parent, what you’re teaching your child is to submit to orders no matter what. Instead, teach your child to make decisions, and he’ll grow up much more capable — and happier. Kids like freedom and decisions, just like any other human beings. Your job is to allow them to make decisions, but within the parameters that you set. Give them a choice between two healthy breakfasts, for example, rather than allowing them to eat a bowl of sugar if they choose to.
  6. A little patience goes a long way. As a parent, I know as well as anyone how easy it is to lose your patience and temper. However, allowing yourself to react in anger or frustration is not the best thing for your child, and you must remember that. That means you need to take a deep breath, or a walk, when you start to lose your patience. Practice patience with your child and your relationship, and your child, will benefit over the long run.
  7. Sense of humor required. There will be times when your child does something that might make you blow your lid — writing in crayon all over the walls is a good one, as is dumping some kind of liquid on your couch, or sneaking out and taking your car to meet up with friends. While you need to teach your child not to do these things, it’s better to just laugh at the humor in the situation. I’ve learned to do this more often, and it helps me keep my sanity.
  8. Read to them, often. Whether you’re a reader or not, reading to your children (from the time they’re babies onward) is crucial. It gets them in the habit of reading, and prepares them for a lifetime of learning. It gives you some special time together, and become a tradition your child will cherish. I read with all my children, from my 2-year-old and my 15-year-old, and love every word we read together.
  9. boy_dad_fixDon’t be the absent dad. The biggest mistake that dads make are not being there for their children. Always, always set aside time each day and each week for your children. Don’t let anything violate this sacred time. And at those big moments in your child’s life — a soccer game, a music recital, a science fair — do you very best to be there. It means the world.
  10. Let them play. Kids really develop through playing — and while it might seem obvious, you should allow them as much free play as possible. That’s aside from TV and video games (see below), aside from reading, aside from anything structured or educational. Just let them play, and make things up, and have fun.
  11. Spark their imagination. Free play, mentioned above, is the best way to develop the imagination, but sometimes you can provide a little spark. Play with your kids, creating forts, dressing up as ninjas, role playing, imagining you’re explorers or characters in a movie or book … the possibilities are endless, and you’ll have as much fun as they will.
  12. Limit TV and video games. I’m not saying you have to be Amish or anything, but too much of this type of entertainment keeps them from doing more imaginative playing, from reading, from getting outside to exercise. I recommend an hour a day of “media time”, but you can find the amount that works for you and your family.dad
  13. Learn the “firm no”. While I’m all for giving kids the freedom to choose, and for free play, and lots of other freedoms, there should be limits. Parents who don’t set boundaries are going to have children with behavior problems, who have problems when they grow up. And if it’s not good to always say “yes”, it’s also not good for the child to say “no” at first … and then cave in when they throw a temper tantrum or beg and plead. Teach them that your “no” is firm, but only say “no” when you really feel that it’s a boundary you need to set.
  14. Model good behavior. It’s one thing to tell you child what she should do, but to say one thing and do another just ruins the message. In fact, the real lesson your child will learn is what you do. Your child is always watching you, to learn appropriate behavior. Excessive drinking or smoking or drug use by parents, for example, will become ingrained in the child’s head. Bad manners, inconsiderate behavior, sloppy habits, anger and a negative attitude, laziness and greed … all these behaviors will rub off on your child. Instead, model the behavior you’d like your child to learn.
  15. thumbnail.aspxTreat their mother with respect, always. Some fathers can be abusive toward their spouse, and that will lead to a cycle of abuse when the child grows up. But beyond physical or verbal abuse, there’s the milder sin against the child’s mother: disrespectful behavior. If you treat your child’s mother with disrespect, your child will not only learn that behavior, but grow up with insecurities and other emotional problems. Treat your child’s mother with respect at all times.
  16. Let them be themselves. Many parents try to mold their child into the person they want their child to be … even if the child’s personality doesn’t fit that mold. Instead, instill good behaviors and values in your child, but give your child freedom to be himself. Children, like all humans, have quirks and different personalities. Let those personalities flourish. Love your child for who he is, not who you want him to be.
  17. Teach them independence. From an early age, teach your children to do things for themselves, gradually letting them be more independent as they grow older. While it may seem difficult and time-consuming to teach your child to do something that you could do much faster yourself, it’s worth it in the long run, for the child’s self-confidence and also in terms of how much you have to do. For example, my kids know how to wash their own dishes, help clean the house, clean their rooms, fold and put away laundry, shower, groom and dress themselves, and much more — saving a lot of time and work for me. Even my 2-year-old knows how to pick things up when she’s told to do so.
  18. Stand together with mom. It’s no good to have one parent say one thing, just to have the other contradict that parent. Instead, you and mom should be working together as a parenting team, and should stand by each other’s decisions. That said, it’s important that you talk out these decisions beforehand, so that you don’t end up having to support a decision you strongly disagree with.

 

 

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What was the most memorable moment you have of your father? As you sit  pondering the issue, think about  how does one go about picking out the most memorable moment out of so many that have gone before? Would the most memorable one be that one instance that is difficult to erase from one’s memory bank? The one some one one can freeze in a memory bubble, and take it out and view it every time one thinks of his or her father?

Is it recalling the first time this most important man in one’s life held you, tickled you, tucked you in, or gave you a welcoming smile after returning home from that first day of school?

Most kids  wish their fathers knew more   about them: their Challenges, their Emotions, their Lives. With that feedback, what follows are the ten things that teenagers with their fathers knew about teenagers.

1.29352pcn-selena56-thumb “I am not a child anymore.” Almost more than anything, teens want respect for their status as maturing young adults. Continuing to be treated as a child feels demeaning. Fathers recognize, however, that teens come in varying stages of maturity, and it is important to tailor your reactions to your teen’s level. As they reach early teen-hood, try to be aware of their situation and work at treating them a little more at an adult level.

2. “I act like I’m ready to be an adult, but I am scared to death of becoming one.” Whether or not your teen is ready to be treated like an adult, he or she is typically overwhelmed with that impending responsibility. Recognize that for all the bravado a teenager can muster, there is significant fear of the unknown. Dads who are able to blend a little respect with a little sensitivity for their situation can be a great resource for their teens.

3. “Friends are becoming more important to me.” Part of the transition process through which teens progress is moving from dependence on parents to independence. It is a process that we support and are excited about as fathers—after all, we want our children to become responsible, independent adults at some point. Part of that process involves a gradual separation from parents to others, including friends. This is natural, expected and appropriate. So don’t be too concerned or get hurt feelings when your teens would rather “hang out” with friends than stay home and play games with the family.

4. “I question lots of things that I didn’t used to question.” A big part of the maturation process is learning to think and feel for one’s self. Teens who were very obedient children may start questioning why they do things that you tell them to do. They may question your judgment. They may question basic beliefs and values that your family has embraced. This questioning process is healthy and normal. Try to stay available to help them through some of that questioning process if the opportunity presents itself.

5. “My hormones are doing weird things to me, and I can’t tell you why. We have noticed with our sons that when they become teens, they become short-tempered and tend to raise their voices a lot, especially when they are under stress. They may start feeling uncomfortable around friends of the opposite sex, even when they have been friends for years. They may want posters on the wall of which you do not approve. But mostly, they just feel—they don’t necessarily understand why. Recognize that hormones may be at the root of some uncomfortable teenage behaviors. However, don’t let them use it as an excuse. Teach them that even though it is hard, hormones and “flash points” can be controlled.

6. “I hate ‘THE LOOK.” Moms and dads develop over time what teenagers know as THE LOOK. This may be expressed in il_fullxfull.269595596a stare, glare or grimace that lets them know they are in trouble. Keeping the lines of communication open can minimize the times you use THE LOOK and can help them identify other ways of knowing that they are causing you stress.

7. “Sometimes, I just need to be alone. Teens have a tendency to withdraw a little while they are figuring out their world. They may be pretty chatty with their friends, but may retreat into their own space when at home. This tendency is also natural and for the most part should not be alarming. If it becomes extreme, then you should be concerned.

8. “Sometimes, I just want you to listen.” Dads often tend to want to be problem-solvers and jump right into a conversation with advice. Resist that temptation and try from time to time to just listen. Many times conversations between parents and teenagers is a chance for a teen to “work it out on their own” with you listening in. Give them that chance to learn to deal with life’s issues rationally and reasonably without you jumping in to solve the issues.

9familyLLS11. “I need you to be consistent.” While teens often rebel at parental authority, they expect and feel most comfortable when parents stick by rule and behave consistently. Don’t constantly change curfews—have a rule and stick with it. The consistency will help give your teen something to rely on—an anchor in the storm of life.

10. “Walk your talk.” Teens get frustrated when parents say one thing and do another. Keep your commitments—they would rather have no promise than a broken one. If we have a family rule about television or video games, mom and dad should live by the rule as well. Set a good example and keep your commitments, and your teen will have greater respect for you.

~Any man can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a dad.  ~

 

 

Thank you Dad for all the memories, but most of all, thank you for being there.

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Yours Mine and Ours………..Irregular Pieces

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“Blended families” is a relatively new term in history, but it (or step- families) has become part of every-day 1284551713language in the last 50 years. In a sense, the blended family has become synonymous with a wicked step-parent or step-sibling of the “dysfunctional family” in our culture. Let’s not fool ourselves; our first exposures to blended families were poor examples. On one extreme, we had the evil fairy tale of Cinderella with a wicked stepmother and ugly stepsisters. On the other end of the spectrum, we were presented with the “everyone lived happily ever after” fictional family–The Brady Bunch.  But now, let’s get real!

 

Even Cinderella in her fairy tale world faced problems with her step-family. Blending a family can bring great conflict, and while no fairy godmother can provide instant solutions, parents can develop strategies for building unity in their blended family. Each member of the family has a role to play. Custodial parents should carefully assess the feelings of their children and encourage open communication. Meanwhile, potential step-parents should not have an agenda to “win over” a child; the best way they can show love is by treating the biological parent with affection and respect. Together, parents of blended families should establish equitable boundaries for all members of the household and develop traditions to help the two families become a single unit.

blended families

I am  not saying there are no successful blended families. Obviously they do  exist. But there’s a whole different set of problems and and social dynamics to work through. Some of the problems experienced by step-families are the following

  1. Perceived discrimination. That’s what the story of Cinderella is all about. The beautiful stepdaughter is discriminated against by a stepmother and stepsisters (all of whom happen to be ugly). The perceived villain in this relationship is most often the stepmother. According to some researchers, stepchildren of both sexes believe that stepmothers discriminate more than stepfathers. Some analysts think this is because a child expects instant love from a stepmother. The child’s expectation is unrealistic, so the stage is set for disappointment, guilt and resentment.
  2. Feelings of rejection. It is not uncommon for stepchildren to feel a sense of rejection. They may feel rejected by the stepparent, the natural parent or both. On the other side of the coin, the parents may feel rejected by their children. There are many reasons for these feelings of rejection. New family rules may be interpreted as rejection. Quite often when remarriage occurs, the two newly married partners are unsure about how to relate to the children in the new relationship. The fear of rejection actually leads them to do nothing. Sometimes the natural parent will adopt a protective stance toward his or her natural children. The child in turn may fear being the cause of a conflict between the natural parent and the stepparent.
  3. Fantasies. The beginning of a blended family relationship is nearly always accompanied by a period of fantasy. The step-parents believe they are rescuing the children from the trauma of a broken home. Their fantasy is that the children will be welcome, loved and adored by the stepparent who wants to supply the love they really need. The biological parents believe they now have a caring adult who will help them with parenting responsibilities. They believe the current spouse will overcome all the negative characteristics of a former spouse. The children on the other hand may think if they ignore this new person, he or she will go away. The children may still maintain the belief that their biological parents will get back together some day. All these fantasies tend to be unrealistic and when the dreams are exploded, a period of sadness can develop.
  4. Differences. Sooner or later all parties in the blended family become aware of differences in the living arrangements. Rules have to be negotiated, which can become an occasion for differences between spouses as well as children. Boundaries have to be determined. Such matters as the use of the telephone, curfew expectations, consequences for violation of the rules have to be determined. Privacy issues have to be agreed to. Whether the step-parent must be obeyed and what avenues are open to the step-parent to enforce obedience have to be worked out.
  5. Abuse. “Step-fathering is a difficult art to master. Apparently fathers who have not been given an opportunitystepparenting to bond with their children constitute a risk group for abuse. Most men are not aware of the psychological and physical demands fathering can make on them when they enter a second marriage where children are already present. Frustrated, they may direct their anger toward the step-kids.”

 

 


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Before jumping into a blended family situation, take heed as to how well you and your partner solve problems together. This is going to become a huge factor in the overall success of your blended family life.  Couples really need to discuss the roles that each parent will play in raising their children or changing household rules beforehand. Building family relationships takes time. In fact, it often takes four to seven years before most blended households stabilize.

For a moment let’s think about the  intriguing feature of a crazy quilt and  the irregular patchwork. Open-door families are like that. Whether the family is blended by marriage, built by adoption or foster parenting, or even created in a group-home setting, the unexpected shapes result in a beautiful pattern.

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Running a hand across the variety of textures in the patchwork — nubby corduroy, well-worn wool, slippery silk, plush velvet — exposes the richness of their combination. Because patchwork families don’t share genetic traits, sometimes the diversity is striking. All families have differences in temperament and personality, but they’re more noticeable in brothers and sisters who weren’t raised together from babyhood or who don’t share a common childhood. In our family, we not only enjoy these different textures, but our colors add interest as well, from fair-haired and blue-eyed to brown-skinned with black eyes.

The more intricate a pattern, the more it says about the quilt maker. Just as a much-worn patch from an heirloom quilt inspires a memory (“Like the blue wool  from the dress Grandma wore when she met Grandpa”), the real magic of a crazy quilt happens when the quilt maker embroiders the pieces. Over the top of every seam is an intricate design of multi-colored embroidery. I’ve seen quilts that never repeat the same embroidery stitch, going from delicate feather stitches to blanket stitches to lazy daisy chains.

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So as we grow up and get married we never dreams of  maybe we will  become  a step-parent. It’s just not part of our “and they lived happily ever jnsmiles

after” fantasy. Nor does society teach us an effective stepparent role. We make it up as we go.

But not all children feel negatively toward stepparents.

Let me share with you thoughts from a stepdaughter to her step-dad………………..

When I was four years old my father died, and two years later my mother met my step-dad.  There were six of us kids to raise, plus he had tree from a previous  marriage. When they got married he helped her raise us and treated us like his very own kids.  I never knew my father. Ted was the only real father I ever knew. Though we have had our ups and downs I would never trade him for any father in the world.

Please remember when the “going gets tough” that all the hard work and discomfort of step-parenting can pay off. It probably won’t live up to the fantasy you have created, but it can be pretty good. Remember, there are both rewards and challenges; only determination will bring rewards.

We all like to know what is expected of us, especially regarding our family roles. Step-parents often discover that the ambiguous nature of their role leads to great frustration. Being a smart step-parent starts by knowing your place in the family.


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Another woman names Jennifer, now a 28-year-old mother, reflects on how awkward it was at 13 to embrace her mother’s new marriage and the family’s move to a small Arkansas community. “It took me years to appreciate what my stepfather did for me,” Jennifer says. “He provided for us and loved me — even when I wouldn’t give him any credit. I just couldn’t let myself love him for a while. But eventually I relaxed and let him in, and now we have an awesome relationship. What a blessing he has been in my life.”

Finding your fit may not be easy, but take time and be patient. As your role becomes clearer, you can confidently begin building a closer relationship with your new children.

Here are some tips to help navigate being part of a Blended Family………..

seasons-boyBlended Family Tip #1. Give it time. People need time to adjust to a new family.  Expecting step relationships to mature quickly creates unnecessary stress. It can take months and years for kinship and trust to develop in a blended family.  Take some pressure off yourself and your family by expanding your time frame.

Blended Family Tip #2. Give credit to your partner. You committed to your partner because you believe he or she is worth spending your life with, give this person some credit when you receive feedback.  If you find yourself getting defensive, it probably means that your partner has a point.  A little humility here may open your eyes to see what you’ve never noticed before in your family. This may be the most productive and healthy step you can take.

Blended Family Tip #3. Know your limits. If your partner is not open to your ideas about his or her children, then consider that there is a limit to how much power you have.  This limit is a good thing.  A stepparent’s role is tricky.  If you’re insistent on too much authority for yourself, you’ll find many obstacles ahead.  Always ask yourself, “What is my role in this situation?  How much power should I have?”

Blended Family Tip #4. See greatness. People making sincere efforts at blending families should be considered heroes.  Everyone in a blended family has experienced the pain and loss of a family falling apart; they should be treated with dignity for any positive efforts and starting over.  See the greatness in each family member and acknowledge their positive contributions to family life.

Blended Family Tip #5. Get real. Expectations are everything.  If you expect your stepchildren to give you the thumbnail.aspxappreciation you deserve, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.  Do your best for your family, but don’t expect to get all the credit you deserve.  This is a tough one.  Asking your stepchildren to appreciate you more than they do their natural parents is even tougher.

Blended Family Tip #6. Know your purpose. A sense of purpose sustains us through the tough times.  Do you discuss mutual goals with your partner?  Do you know what kind of life that you are aiming for?  What are your shared values, hopes, dreams and vision for your future?  Commonality on these fronts is the solid foundation that you can always fall back on.

Blended Family Tip #7. Work on yourself. At the end of the day, it all comes down to you.  Foolish people blame others in the midst of their own self-blindness.  With regard to the difficult areas in your family, look at yourself first.  Where can you make changes?  How can you grow and mature as a person?  How does your behavior affect those whom you love?  Answering these questions first is always a wise move.



image - Yours Mine and Ours...........Irregular Pieces

 

 

 

A girl thanks God for her stepmother who is exactly the person she needed in her life.

© Donetta Davis
My father gave her to me, as a gift from God above,
Who would know a Step-Mother,
is someone you can really love.
I shall call her mother,
the name that suits her best;
Although my veins are not of her blood, She surpassed all the rest.

She loves and understands me,
and of course is my Best Friend,
She is soft, and kind, and loving, until our journey, here, shall come to an end.
The Lord has gave her to me,
She’s my comfort zone,
The Lord knows every need of his children,

and that I needed to be in taught in a new tone.
Quite a few heartaches for both my new mom and me,
step-parentWe were put together for a reason, even if we cannot see.
We had both lost someone dear to us, and with God’s sweet guiding kiss,
He put together a family,
so we could love the ones,

that together, we missed.
Mother, I am sorry that you suffered all the strife in your life,
But God had a plan for me and you,
and made you my father’s wife.
I think about a little girl who’s mother’s love she would have missed,
And I feel the tears she felt,

when it was her brow you kissed.
I cannot say enough for all the times you cared,
Thank you for the tender moments that together we can now share.
My Mother she will be, forever and ever again,
She’s my shining Angel and most of all, forever, my friend.

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Blended families are on the rise. These relationships can be difficult, but with a little time and a lot of patience, two families can successfully become one.

F008


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The Fine Print

This policy is valid from 19 February 2010

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by us. For questions about this blog, please contact Dennis and Barbara Harnsberger at ourfamily2yours.com.

This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers’ own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

To get your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org

 

 

 

Living Happily Ever After

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A marriage is for a lifetime – at least, that is what most people hope it would be when they get into it.Married-couple

Getting married is the beginning of a wonderful journey. To have a good marriage you need the following……

  • 4 cups of love
  • 2 cups of patience
  • 1 gallon of trust
  • 2 cups of flattery (carefully concealed with intelligent choice of words)
  • 1 cup of respect (undiluted)
  • 2 cups of encouragement
  • 1 pinch of respect for in-laws

That’s all that makes for ingredients for a happy marriage  recipe.

Note: Make sure that the ingredients are well sifted for jealousy, suspicion and mean words!

Are there some days you wonder, why can’t so-and-so remember to shut the gate into the front yard behind him when he comes home, even though you’ve told him about 800 times? Or maybe he thinks, why does she have to have the gate shut (answer: it completes the safety circle around the house…okay, so he’s not the only one with weird little tics).

So what’s the big, juicy secret to a happy, successful, sexy marriage?

There isn’t one.

Before you get too discouraged, I say there isn’t one, because there are as many secrets to a successful, passionate relationship as there are couples.

One of my favorites came from a story I heard about an old woman who had been happily married many, many years. A young woman asked her what their secret was. The old woman said that when they first married, she allowed herself to write down a list of 10 things her husband did that drove her crazy. She told herself that she would forgive the 10 things and only these 10. So she did that. Whenever he did one of those things, she took a deep breath and let it go. Many years passed, and she lost track of the list she’d written. Which was ultimately a good thing, because now whenever he did anything at all that annoyed her, she took a deep breath and said, “Good thing that’s on the list.”

i-love-you

So what are the keys to a successful marriage?

Love
This may sound a little clichéd, but love is one of the main pillars of a successful, happy and long-lasting marriage. It can often make up for the lack of other near-essential ingredients such as financial wealth, comforts, luxuries, etc. However, a marriage without love will never last. It is the foundation of a relationship  upon which all other things are eventually built.

Talk.  I know, boring. But talking will get all of the mundane things out of your system and free up space for thinking….other things. If your mind is full of how it’s his turn to do the dishes and how it bugs you that he never is the one to do toothbrushing with the kids, you’ll have no room to remember how funny his jokes are or how he still has a cute butt.

 

 

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Companionship
This is one aspect that most wedded couples remain in the dark about, or miss out on. Sure, a marriage is about ‘we’, rather than you and me, but at the same time, it is also about retaining your identity, individuality, and enjoying it with your companion. It is about sharing each other’s interests in a positive way.

 

Maintaining the Spark
This is another aspect of a successful marriage which unfortunately, remains sidelined or ignored as the days tick by. In the initial few months or couple of years, all is nice and rosy, and there are hardly any dull moments in the relationship. However, as the newness or the shine begins to wear off, the flame slowly but surely, begins to weaken and before you realize it, it gets doused. The trick here is to keep re-inventing yourself as a couple and to reignite the spark or the flame whenever necessary. Infuse a bit of life into your marriage if you find it heading towards a plateau. The graph should always rise, never should it remain lifeless at a plateau, and NEVER should it drop down.

42-15181038Create Magic Moments Magic moments are just that. They come from nowhere, are there for a moment, but the memory lingers on. A magic moment can, and should, happen at any time. You probably had many of them in your early days without realizing how special they can become. A magic moment occurs when you and your partner are alone for a moment or two in the same room. A quick hug, a kiss, an ‘I love you’ before the kids return and disturb the moment (often with a ‘get a room’).

Set aside regular couple time. Work, family, financial woes, all have a way of overtaking daily life and eroding the sense of fun that brought you two together in the first place. Bring the fun back – even if you have to schedule it in the calendar once every week. Sharing a physical activity, like a bike ride or a walk around the block, is especially good for lifting your spirits along with your heart rate. Activities like going out for an intimate dinner, staying at home and playing music from your college days, or watching a favorite movie (will help you both remember why you chose each other. If cash is in short supply, trade off babysitting with a friend and plan a picnic in the park. There are 168 hours in a week: make a commitment to devote at least two of those hours to your marriage every week.

Surprise each other. If things start getting to be the same ol’ thing, do something different. In the bedroom,  buy new lingerie, role play, use more candles, take your time, think about what you used to do together in the early days, and recreate your favorite scenarios.

Show Respect: Respect is huge and you should show respect to your spouse at all times whether your alone or in public.<

Warby Parker

Other Successful Marriage Tips

  • Maintain physical intimacy. It plays a very important and significant role in keeping the romance alive. Many a time, sex can be just the spark that your marriage needs!
  • Never leave a major fight unresolved and sleep over it, or storm out of the house. It will just hide in the far corner of your mind, multiply quietly like a virus, and resurface at a later point of time causing more damage. Always try and settle your arguments or fights there and then itself.
  • Do not take each other for granted. This tends to happen quite regularly as the years pile up. Appreciate every small thing that your partner does for you and express gratitude towards him/her. It will go a long way in strengthening and maintaining the bond between the two of you.

50 Years of Learning

by Dorothy Casper

 

It was delightful to watch as the friends and relatives gathered in the cultural

hall of the church to congratulate and wish the couple well, whom were celebrating

their 50th wedding anniversary. The room was beautifully decorated with momentous

scenes throughout their lives growing up and later together.

 

The joyous sound of laughter was heard throughout the room as the guest mingled

throughout and as they enjoyed the delicious buffet. They each had moments to share

that they had had with the honored couple.

 

As the couple was ushered to two high back king and queen chairs the program began.

Listening, memory served me well, of the past years of my life. The oldest son

began the introduction along with his gratitude to those attending to honor his

article-1187810-05178681000005DC-744_468x341parents. A beautiful well-written program included the four children, their mates,

12 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. Posterity, their heirs, I believe it’s

called, were nervous wanting to do the very best for the couple whom they all loved

in different ways and for different reasons.

 

As I listened I wondered, “what brought this family to this point?” “Did they

have some kind of formula to teach by, to learn from, to have this tremendous

gathering?”

 

As each child took part there was humor, tears and beautiful talent displayed.

Viewing the esteemed couple one could see their hands entwined as they had done so

much in the past 56 years. Anyone who had known them previously had often seen this

same devotion.

 

Then the music began and the couple was highlighted in pictures from a very young

age until the present time. The 50′s music set everyone attending tapping theirCJC_3176

toes, smiling and many just remembering, their own bygone years.

 

It was over much too, soon. As the couple was called to the microphone, the

clapping was deafening. The children and grandchildren stood smiling at the couple

who meant so much to them and thinking to themselves, “I want to be just like them

– still holding hands after 56 years – still in love.”

 

Still holding hands, they approached the microphone together. “Words elude me, and

my heart is so full of joy for my family and for all of you kind friends who came to

wish us well,” she said. Then she introduced each member of the family and it was

obvious she could have said something endearing about each one. He moved a little

closer as he began to speak, expressing his gratitude to the family as well to

everyone attending and then turning to her he gave her a hug and kiss. With his

arms still around her he said, “It’s been a good trip, honey – It’s been a good

trip.”

 

Now, as I sit at my computer, I am contemplating just what he meant by… it’s been a

good trip The meaning sinks in – although there were many ups and downs – hardships

– joyous times and sad times as every family has, maybe, just maybe, the answer

lies in continually saying and showing and meaning, “I Love You.” Perhaps that is

the answer for everyone – to care – to love in spite of.

 

(LovebookOnline.com is a site you can go to and create a personalized book for anyone you want.  Every page is a page you create, either from a blank, or from a preset design which you can customize. I spent so much time playing on the site, it is addicting, I warn ya!  You can have as many pages as you want, and pick a hard cover or a soft cover, which you can customize.  SO COOL!!)

LoveBook - Weddings

 

timthumb.phpAs you can see, a good marriage is indeed hard work, compromise, love and sharing. The foundation may be love, but to have a good marriage you need to consciously keep it alive, and vibrant.

Someone told me at a  wedding once  that marriage is a garden.  It needs plenty of sun, you need to put a fence up around it to keep the critters out, constantly look over it and pull out any weeds you see growing, and give it a lot of time and attention to be sure that things are growing in a healthy way.

How lucky it is for you to find your partner among the millions of people in this world! Some people are not even able to find true love in their lifetime. Do not take unconditional love for granted. Always cherish your partner and show your appreciation. Make it a point to tell your loved one every now and then, something about him/her that you admire or are grateful for. If you think about it, a lifetime is actually limited, so make each day count.

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One of the nicest things you can say to your partner, “If I had it to do over again, I’d choose you.  Again.”  Remember to tell your spouse “I love you” each and every single day.

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The Fine Print

 

This policy is valid from 19 February 2010
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by us. For questions about this blog, please contact  Dennis and Barbara Harnsberger at ourfamily2yours.com.

This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers’ own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
To get your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org



Do You Say I love You?

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I love you seems to be a “Hallmark” term. A favorite saying in some cards is- “I know I don’t always say it but I love you or, “even though I don’t say it often enough, I love you.”

I’d like to challenge that statement by asking, “why don’t you say it, and often?” If you ask the definition of a family, some may say that it is a group of people comprising of mother, father and children who live together in a house.

 

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Why is it important to say “I love you”? There are many reasons that we could discuss all of them valid. We could mention what happens to children that never hear those words, relate what kind adults they may become, or how those words can bring an invisible healing power to people in hospitals; how they bring courage and strength to those facing seemingly insurmountable odds, how a single “I love you” can propel a man from trying hard to doing the impossible.

These words are timeless, boundless, inspiring and so important. Division between families and countries can be bridged by a couple who are in love I know people who are uncomfortable saying “I love you”.

Some because they were not raised hearing it, some because they have trouble expressing their innermost feelings, and still others because they feel the power of the words is lessened if it is ‘overused’. I beg to differ. I love you.

I love you today, tomorrow and forever. I loved you yesterday and I loved you twenty minutes ago and I love you right here and right now. There is no way to express my love for you more simply than to say it, and because I love you so deeply and with such commitment I will tell you as many times a day as I feel it. never-pass-a-chance-to-300x235     Saying “I love you” is emotional. It is sweet and pure and simple, and it is the best, most inexpensive  gift you can give someone. Do not make the excuse that the people you love should already know it by your life and actions, make sure they know it! Saying “I love you” relieves stress.

It is a reminder that you are safe and that you are also loved. It is a way to offer a person peace, security, joy and a little bit of sunshine for the day. It does not need to be an eye-to-eye intense moment wrought with physical passion, it is an acknowledgment that you are present in their life and that you care.

There is a wonderful song by Garth Brooks , “If Tomorrow Never Comes” that expresses one of the greatest and best reasons as to why it is important to say “I Love You.”  Because if you do not say it when you have the chance, you may have missed out on it forever.

 


Do you know why it is very important to say I love you to those people you love?  Too many times, we just take it for granted that those we love know we love them so we feel as if we do not need to say it.

 

 

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When I Love You is said to children, it helps mold a lifetime of  security and confidence for when they confront love.   Telling your children you love them spares them the wonder and insecurity of feeling unloved.  Although everyone feels unloved now and then.

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  Which brings us back to those three very special words, I love you….and why it is very important to say as often as felt. When you tell a parent you love them, they feel better about themselves.

  All the punishments and verbal threats it took raising you, your brothers and sisters was not in vain.  Loved parents feel a sense of accomplishment.

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“I love you” Can any words possible sound sweeter or offer greater comfort. Is any statement more natural or necessary between a parent and child? In many families, these words come easily.

But if you grew up never having them saying “I love you” may feel somewhat unnatural to you. People have trouble saying “I love you” for many reasons–perhaps they were raised in homes with emotionally distant parents, they’re unhappy or they’ve been hurt before and are afraid the feeling will not be reciprocated again.

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Even so, it’s important to say it because the person you’re saying it to–your spouse or child–needs to hear it. “You need to be the kind of person who not only feels love, but gives love.” The more you say it, the more you feel it.

However uncomfortable, force yourself to say it, over and over, until the habit becomes second nature.

 There is truly no underestimating the importance of saying, “I love you.” 

Those three little words are,  the most important sentence in the world, “I love you, accept you, and how can I help you.” The term love implies both acceptance and the willingness to place someone’s needs ahead of our own.

 

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The term love implies more than a simple selfish passing moment, but a deep understanding of who someone is, and the knowledge that they are good enough without their perfections we are so often seeking.

Without love and acceptance, what really do we have from each other?

I found this story that I want to share…

I hired a plumber to help me restore an old Farmhouse and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job, a flat tire made him lose an hour of work and his electric drill quit, and his ancient one-ton truck refused to start. 

As I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving he invited me in to meet his family.  As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.  Upon opening the door he had undergone an amazing transformation.

 

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His tanned face was wreathed  in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward he walked me to the car, we passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me.  I asked him about what I had seen him do at the little tree.

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied.”  I know I can’t help having troubles on the job but one thing’s for sure, those troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and children.  So I just hang them upon the tree every night when I come home, and ask God to take care of them. 

Then in the morning I pick them up again. “Funny thing is” he smiled “when I come out in the morning to pick them up there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.” This man learned how important his family is and wants to show his love always no matter what kind of day he had. This man’s house was filled with “I love you’s everywhere.”

Love is a hug,  a kiss, a whisper to cheer the heart of the other.

Our children are the greatest gifts that life bestows upon us. The love a parent has for a child is an overwhelming and limitless emotion. It is unconditional, everlasting, and pure.

It is for this reason that it is far beyond merely important that we speak our love to our children often and fully. They deserve to be completely aware of our feelings for them, and it is essential for both ourselves and our children that we do not hold back in the expression of the deep affection we hold in our hearts for them.

 

 

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I ran into a stranger as he passed by “Oh excuse me please” was my reply. He said “Please excuse me to; I wasn’t watching for you.”

We were very polite, this stranger and I. We went on our way and said good-bye. But at home a different story is told. How we treat our loved ones young and old. Later that day, cooking the evening meal, My son stood beside me very still.


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When I turned, I nearly knocked him down. “Move out of the way.” I said with a frown. He walked away, his little heart broken I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken. While I lay awake in bed, God’s still small voice came to me and said, While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use, but the family you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor, You’ll find some flowers there by the door. These are the flowers he picked for you. He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue. “He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise, you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes.”

By this time, I felt very small. And now my tears began to fall. I quietly went and knelt by his bed; “Wake up, little one,wake up,” I said. “Are those flowers you picked today for me?” He smiled, “I found ’em out by the tree.” I picked ’em because they’re pretty like you.

I knew you’d like ’em especially the blue.” I said, “Son, I’m very sorry for the way I acted today; I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.” He said, “Oh, Mom, that’s okay. I love you anyway.”

I said, “Son, I love you too, and I do like flowers, especially the blue.”

Loving someone, and telling them often, is a gift. And not just to the recipient of your love, but to yourself as well. When you truly love someone and find the courage to express it well and express it often, you are giving more of a gift to yourself than anyone.

Love is something that needs nourishment through actions and words. It is a living thing. Just as a plant will not survive without water and sunshine, love will wither if we don’t “feed” it. Saying “I love you” and showing affection, especially when it is unexpected, feeds our souls.

Other things may change us but we start and end with Family.

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Some Ways Family Members Can Say I Love You. Speak kindly to your child.

Let your “no” mean no.

Let your “yes” mean yes.

Ask “Do you want to talk?”

Listen, Listen, Listen.

Make Free Time.

Laugh out loud.

Say “I am Proud of You”.

Smile Be home when they are home.

Add hugs to your list.

Did you know you need 12 hugs a day to keep the doctor away?

Make “I love you” the last thing you say every night.

Keep your promises.

Say “I Love You”.

Help spread the love in families and perhaps if more people said those words it would strengthen families.

 

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Often, we take each other for granted, believing that the other person knows we love them. After all, if we didn’t, we would be elsewhere, doing something for somebody else.

A busy mother may neglect to tell her adolescent or adult children how much she loves them. They know enough about each other to accept this as a given, don’t they? A son may not remember to tell his elderly parents how much he loves them.

We think our actions speak louder than words, so they MUST be aware of our love. Put yourself in the place of someone waiting and hoping to hear those words more often, and you will know just why it is important to say “I love you.”

Think of the joy and pleasure it gives you to be told you are loved, no matter who, what or where you are in life.  “I love you” tells someone that you care and means to them that you see their value.

Although these three words can be the most important you may say in your life, use them wisely.

 

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How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You   {With more than 7 million copies sold, everybody’s favorite bestselling dinosaurs are back to say: “I love you,” in a VERY big way!

Parents and children can never have enough ways to say “I love you”–and now, America’s favorite dinosaurs are giving families a funny book, perfect for bedtime, storytime, anytime.}

Tell someone you love them when you do. Don’t tell someone, just because, tell them because you mean it. Telling another you love them without the true feeling behind it can be very hurtful, your actions potentially will not match your words.

7fa0ce038f91480932e3f59389c0a162Take Care,

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