Do we show our children appreciation? I was emailing a friend of mine this week. She asked how the children were, and I gave the usual run down. But the more I wrote, the more I became aware of their individual characteristics. Now, it’s not like we as parents don’t know the unique traits of our children, but sometimes I think we are so busy surviving life, that we don’t always appreciate how beautifully unique they are.

My husband and I were chatting the other night about our 4th child. The 1-year-old. He made a comment that struck a chord. He said, “It feels like she is growing up without us really noticing.” I thought to myself… am I appreciating the little girl she is becoming? Do I recognize the full worth of who she is? And, for that matter, what about all my other children?

Do I pay attention to their unique, particular (and, sometimes, peculiar) characteristics?

So, it made me think a little deeper about each of their personalities and quirks… My eldest son is the sweetest, most gentle old soul. And looks at life deeply and with insight. My second eldest son tends to take on life with real gusto, energy, and curiosity (and tells me every day that I look beautiful). My daughter is “Little Miss Independent”, mothering anyone that is younger than her and is definitely a free spirit. Now for my baby… She lights up the room with her smile, takes after her brother by taking on the world around her with enthusiasm to learn, and often walks up to me just to give me an unexpected cuddle. Man, these kids melt my heart!

Do we remind ourselves of these kinds of things when those moments of exhaustion, frustration and complete and utter “I Give Up” hit? When we are tired of tantrums, screaming, running around, house cleaning, laundry, cooking, work, deadlines, being a single parent, etc… do we then remember the good in our children that make them unique.

You know, when I stopped to think about this, I realized a few things. Yes, my life is crazy busy, but it is full. Yes, my kids drive me nuts, sometimes, and I’m sure they feel the same about me. My kids are healthy, strong, loved, adored and we are travelling and learning about this thing called family every day!

How can we be more appreciative of our kids?

  1. Each morning we can look at our children with fresh eyes. Forgetting all the miss-steps from yesterday (after all, we all make mistakes and deserve a second chance… or a third, or fourth, whatever it takes).
  2. Daily we can remind ourselves to look for something beautiful in our children, something they have achieved that day, an act of kindness, something that revealed their inner character… and we can celebrate that!
  3. We can determine to really listen to what they are saying when they speak. What does it reveal about how they process the environment around them? What they talk about is usually what makes them “tick”.
  4. We should learn to always say thank you, and verbalize that we are grateful for their help, for them and for the blessing of being their parents.

These are definitely some things I will be striving to do more. As an adult I know what it feels like to want to be appreciated, I am positive children feel the same way too.