Thursday, June 18, 2009

You Have to Love Your Kids; It's Even Better to Like Them!

You don’t have to like your kids, but you do have to love them. I heard that or read that a while ago (maybe it was from John Rosemond but I’m not sure of the source).

Think about it. There’s a lot of time when you don’t really like the little crapperheads based on something they may have done or some quirk of their personality or behavior. But you absolutely have to love them.

I’ve made several postings lately about my children, things in their childhood and small things in their lives which say something about my feelings or which bring on a smile. Today, I’m going to touch on the best thing. The absolute best time I ever had with my kids.

Mike and Susan at Mike's Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

It was 2004. I had been living in Southern California for 6 years and my kids lived in the Midwest. Mike was 22 and Susan 20. Mike lived with his fiancé in Ames, Iowa and Susan 30 miles away in Des Moines, still at home with her Mom.

I had to travel to Detroit for a weeklong training meeting and decided to take a couple of extra days and stop over in Des Moines to see the kids. I was able to spend some time with each of them individually and on Saturday night have dinner with them, with Mike’s fiancé and with Susan’s boyfriend in Ames.

I cooked steaks on the grill at Mike’s apartment and we had dinner together, talking and chatting, getting to know Susan’s boyfriend and getting better acquainted with Mike’s fiancé, Katie. We played some cards and all in all had a terrific evening.

It didn’t dawn on me until the next day when I was flying on to Detroit and thinking on the airplane about my kids and how much I missed them and loved them. This grand epiphany was that I genuinely liked my children. I really liked them as people, not just my kids. I really enjoyed their company, their personalities, their outlook, the way they thought and conversed and laughed. I LIKED them!

And I admired them. I admired the young adults they had become. Self-confident, articulate, responsible adults who you would be proud to call your friend.

It didn’t make any difference in how much I loved them. But I was proud of my kids. And how they had turned out OK without their Father in their everyday lives (obviously their Mother had done a good job).

We all know what a pain in the butt kids can be—particularly teenagers. It perhaps shouldn’t amaze us when they turn into great adults. But, to me it’s fantastic to really like the person that they’ve become and to know that, no matter what, they’re going to be all right.

And, to quote Forrest Gump: “That’s all I’ve got to say about tha-at.”

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