What I Learn from my Children (part 2)

There are two sides of love–the needy side and the giving side.

My children teach me that it is OK to be needy. Sometimes our love is expressed in our neediness. Sometimes it is expressed in giving. The following story illustrates both sides:

This morning as I sneaked back into the house after my jog, I noticed the light on in Roman’s room and quiet voices emanating from its interior. I tiptoed to the door and witnessed this scene: Roman and Jaden were sitting on Roman’s bed with a blanket, leaning over several books. Jaden was helping Roman to pick a story and then he began to read to his little brother.

Jaden loves Roman by giving. He enjoys showing Roman love by playing with him, reading him stories, doing things for Roman that Roman cannot do for himself. Jaden demonstrates a selfless love in seeking to please Roman.

On the other hand, Roman was also loving Jaden this morning. This kind of love is sometimes overlooked, because we don’t tend to see our neediness as a platform for showing love. But I see in my children how much this kind of love means. When Roman is rude and spurns their efforts to care for him, it hurts their feelings. But when he chooses to enjoy their participation in his life, and accept their help, this brings them great joy! Roman gave love to Jaden this morning, by allowing Jaden to fill his neediness. He demonstrated his love for Jaden by trusting him to take care of his needs, by expecting good things from Jaden, by believing Jaden to read the story correctly.

Of course, there is a neediness that is self-centered, all about my desires, and my fulfillment. That is not the kind of neediness I am talking about. I mean the real, helpless, “I can’t do this without you.” kind of neediness that is so much a part of a child’s life.  Roman, at three, is learning to do a lot of things for himself. He can dress himself, get his own shoes on, blow up his own balloon, and is even learning to swim by himself. But there is still plenty in life that he is completely dependent on me to do for him. He cannot fix his own meals, buckle himself into the car seat, or do his own laundry. When Roman seeks help, and then graciously and thankfully accepts that help, he is demonstrating love.

Roman came in to snuggle with me this morning as I was finishing up my time in the Word. He put his arms around my neck and hugged me, and I said to him, “You love me so much, don’t you?”  The only kind of love Roman can show is a needy kind of love. But I get such joy from participating in the filling of those needs. And his reception of my care is a response of love.

Just imagine the joy it brings into our Father’s life when we receive His loving care gratefully!

One Response to "What I Learn from my Children (part 2)"

  • What a neat parallel. This really illustrates the lovingness of neediness – never thought of it this way before. 🙂 Cool stuff – thanks for sharing!

    1 Dar Gail said this (July 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm) Reply

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