A good friend and mentor, Kristin, told me the other day that Eisenhower's mother taught her children that each child in the family is essential to the family's existence, to the point that if the child were not a part of the family, the family unit would fall apart. I see this in two ways, really. On one hand, it gives the kids a very strong sense that they matter, that they're important, and that their every contribution is crucial. And that's a very good thing. On the other hand, what kind of pressure does that put on them, and what kind of expectations? Don't get me wrong, expectations are a good thing. And perhaps, when balanced with constant reassurance of unconditional love that pressure might be okay too. I just have this sense that telling my kids that the family wouldn't exist without them gives them constant pressure not to let the family down. So maybe the concept is good, but the wording should be altered. Maybe that means I should tell my kids how important they are to me, and how vital their contribution to the family is. And besides, I truly think that my family's well being depends more on God and our individual relationships with God than on any individual.
On a different note, I put a note in Sofi's lunch box every day. Tuesday I wrote "You're a star." When I picked her up from preschool and asked her what she ate for lunch, she rattled off an orange, cheese, turkey, and crackers, and "Mama says I'm a star!" It really does matter to her! And just this morning I was playing with her on the couch, and had to run to the next room. I reassured her that I'd be right back because... "you're so much..." (pause as I choke back sneeze) and she finished my sentence with "FUN!" Do you know what that means? It means that I tell her enough how much I appreciate spending time with her - enough that she knows it and can say it back to me! It warmed my heart!