1. God loves you
God bestows children upon us, and our one job is to turn them back to Him in a sinful and unrelenting world where everything else seeks to acquire their attention and desires. I want my children to know God loves them always and will never fail them as I often will as an earthly parent.
2. I Love you
More and more these days we are seeing the effects of broken homes and children without loving parents. This is not a pattern or statistic that will take hold in my home. My kids will know that I love them and how much I love them by how often I tell them and by how I model that love in how I treat them.
3. You’re beautiful
My daughter has her mother’s countenance and is made in the image of God. How could she not be beautiful? Societies and culture predetermine the standards of beauty which all children struggle with in their own self-perception and how they are accepted and treated. Inevitably, my daughter will be judged by her looks, but not by me. She will portray her beauty through her words and actions, not by the physical appearance that can be so deceptive and fleeting.
4. I’m proud of you
This one can be taken with a grain of salt. Sure, there will be occurrences when I will not be proud of the things my kids will do. Nonetheless, I will always be proud they are my children. I know how I will raise them and the morals and values I will teach them. I will have pride in how I raise them. Even through their faults, like the prodigal son I will strive to show grace that God has shown me.
5. I have fun with you
Every night before I put my daughter to bed, I tell her I had fun playing with her and miss seeing her when I’m at work. With each passing day the old adage rings more true: the days are long but the years are short. My home will be one of laughter and enjoyment. Discipline will have its time when needed, but I want my kids to want to be with me. I want to give them joyful experiences and memories. I believe nothing outside of God brings a family closer together than fun and laughter. The sound of my daughter laughing is the most wonderful sound I know. It fills my heart daily.
6. I’m sorry
There is a saying that goes, “Loving someone means never having to say ‘I’m sorry’ “. I’m not sorry, but that is among the most ignorant things I’ve ever heard. I am human. I make mistakes on a daily basis, and I know I will make mistakes in raising my kids. It is very easy to become impatient and raise your voice to a toddler, but I am learning. I always had a hard time uttering these words, because I did not hear them much growing up. My kids will hear it from me when I have screwed up. There will be no grudges, grievances, unspoken words, or difficult emotions in my home due to unforgiveness.
7. Be kind
*Cue Cinderella* In a world so full of hate and violence, kindness is becoming a rare commodity. I speak this value to my daughter repeatedly in saying “be nice”, “be gentle”, or “you’re a very nice girl but you aren’t acting very nice right now”. I want her to know that frustration, anger, and exuberant playfulness are okay but not as manifestations into hurtful or disobedient actions.
8. Let’s pray
My daughter loves to pray. Sometimes, she even reminds me to pray for no reason at all, which is something I could most assuredly learn from and use more of. She closes her eyes and repeats my words, even adding in some thoughts of her own. My children will know the power of prayer and the communication we have with our Heavenly Father. God willing, my children will outlive me, and there will be a time when I am not here with them. My wife sings our children a song with a line in it that says, “Only our Heavenly Father can hear your every prayer. When we are just a memory, our Lord will still be there.”
9. You have a wonderful mommy
Parenting is hard. I want my children to know how blessed they are to have a stay at home mom who cares for and loves them more than life itself and to never take that for granted. I want them to see me love her, so they have a healthy model to fashion in their own families one day.