If you have ever tried to explain something to someone, you know the power of examples. They also say, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and that is almost always true. So today, I will use a picture (a scanned image, really) as an example of a great way to communicate love.
You see, loving another person is one thing, but making the other person feel your love is another matter altogether. Differences in communication styles may get in the way, love languages may not match and other circumstances may interfere.
So what you need to do is make your declaration of love stand out so big it simply cannot be ignored or overlooked.
And what better teachers do we have for this but our very own kids?
One day, our 8-year-old daughter Noff came back from school with a bookmark she had made at school. She brought it home with the utmost care, showed it to everyone and told us it was a special bookmark she had made for us and offered it to us to use for our books (we all read a lot).
Dad is my pumpkin Mum is my toulipe Eden is my pinguin and Tsoof he’s my sun but best of all I love all of them. Name: Noff
Spelling mistakes, that paralyzing fear of kids in primary school, was no match for Noff’s love. Neither was the narrow format of the bookmark or any concerns about writing cleanly and legibly. She wrote it the way she felt it, warts and all, straight from the heart, with lips for a kiss and a heart for love, just in case anything was unclear in the words.
She left no stone unturned making sure we all got the message before she relaxed and moved on, happy we all knew how much she loved us.
With Eden, our 21-year-old daughter, we have an ongoing romance via a small whiteboard that we keep next to the front door of our house. Ronit and I go out every week for a movie or to see friends and we come home late. Being a young adult, Eden also goes out sometimes and returns after we have gone to bed.
One day, Ronit took that little whiteboard and wrote a short message for Eden before we went to sleep. She wrote it in Hebrew, because this is the language we use at home and it the language in which we feel emotions.
When Eden got home at night, she saw the message waiting for her as she opened the door and felt loved and welcomed home. She was so excited about the idea, she also started leaving us love messages.
But for Eden, Hebrew is not her strongest language. She can speak it fluently, but her reading and writing are much slower and take a lot more effort. Still, all of her nightly love notes for us are written in Hebrew, spelling mistakes included.
This has been going on for a while. Recently, I was talking to Tsoof about having the courage to do things that are not 100% safe. As this was related to him feeling awkward writing Hebrew, one of the examples I gave him was Eden’s messages of love for us. I told him how much I appreciated her risking ridicule for crooked handwriting, choice of words or misspellings in order to communicate her love to us.
I said to him, “You know, whenever I see Eden’s notes with all the mistakes, they look like something a young child would write and that makes me imagine a little girl sitting inside Eden and telling us how much she loves us the best way she can. It’s so innocent and pure it makes the love that much stronger for me”.
This week, the kids had to go to bed earlier and Ronit and I went to see the movie Invictus with Eden (what a special man was Nelson Mandela). When we came back home, we saw the little whiteboard on the bottom of the stairs with a message of love from Tsoof, written with an unpracticed hand, full of spelling mistakes, but loudly and clearly declaring his love for us.
We were all so proud we nearly burst.
Man, I love my kids!