You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
I’ve always known I’m loved.
Though my parents divorced when I was very young and I’ve never seen their relationship toward one another as a warm one, I was always neutral territory.
For all they disagreed on, they agreed on loving me.
Writing those words seems silly to me.
Of course I was loved. Of course my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles told me.
And yet, in movies and books, there are moments of revelation where the protagonist’s mother or father (usually father) says, “I love you,” and the protagonist admits it’s the first time this has occurred.
I’ve read or watched more of these moments than I know.
Not until recently, did it strike me that this might not be a fictional device akin to time travel or a cloak of invisibility.
There are children who never actually hear their families tell them they are loved.
Odds are I teach some of them.
Certainly, I could assuage the sadness of this statement by telling myself these children are shown they are loved.
It’s not the same.
My grandmother was showing me she loved me when she read me just one more story at bedtime. The act was exponentially magnified, however, when she said, “And I will always love you – no matter what.”
I knew it was true the way I knew it was true when any other adult in my family admitted I was the recipient of their unconditional love.
Without doubt, it built me to the person I am today.
Because this is my paradigm, I am still struggling with the idea any adult could resist telling the children in their care how much they love them.
I get to spend only an hour with these kids and cannot help but wonder at who they are and all they can do. I can’t imagine how anyone could be keeping their love for these people to themselves.
If any children, no matter how old, doubt they are loved, I want to believe that some adult will intervene and tell them the truth that has been so often told to me.
Would you do that, please?