My dad was a great man: WWII vet, father of eight kids, provider, smart, hard working and a devoted friend to many. He was also very stern and had difficulty expressing his emotions. When I was 19 years old I remember walking home from college because I was poor and my car broke down. It was a long walk, about 7-8 miles. Had a lot of time to think. One of the thoughts that I had was that I would be a great father to my future kids and also let them know that they are loved every day. I made a pledge that afternoon that when I had kids I would tell them every day “I love you”.
When I became a dad I made good on that pledge. Every morning and every night, no matter what was going on in my work life, I would give my kids a hug in the morning and at night and tell them “I love you”. When they became teens, this daily habit of mine seemed to annoy my kids. But I didn’t care.
My kids are all adults now and the habit is still with me. I never miss an opportunity to tell them “I love you.” Unfortunately now, I have to do it most of the time by phone, email, text or Facebook. What makes me happy is that, as adults, they always reciprocate with an “I love you too.” It has become a habit for each one of my kids to say “I love you.”
Kids need to know they are loved. No matter what happens in their little lives, that “I love you” from their mom or dad acts like an ointment that helps dress the wounds of life. Love is contagious. It spreads like a virus from one person to the next. When you infect your kids with this virus, you infect everyone they come into intimate contact with. Saying “I love you” is one habit that every parent should adopt.