Part of whether we know whether we’re communicating love effectively with our children or our partner really has a lot to do also with the feedback we get. But there’s a lot of different ways we can communicate love and some ways are more important to certain members of the family than others.
For example, one of the most important ways, especially for children, is what I call special times. When I once asked adults what were some of your best times with your parents, they talked about a time alone with their parents. Because sometimes I think family time is overrated. But a time where you’re just alone with a child, where you could really talk about different things. Many adults said that’s when they really felt very loved.
It’s also the smallest little gestures – just being there, smiling, a hug. It’s nothing earthshaking. And actually, recently I’ve become very concerned because of the technology in the world.
Just to give you an example is when I was coaching my sons in basketball growing up, there were no such things as cell phones. Parents actually observed their children playing games and would talk to them afterwards. Now that I have a grandson – several grandchildren – and I went to a soccer game, it was very upsetting for me to see that half the parents were texting, using their cell phones and the kids, after scoring a goal or doing something, would look up and the parents wouldn’t even see it.
And one of the things I say to parents is, “These are moments where you could show interest and love. And if there’s too much technology interfering, kids are going to feel they’re not as important.” I actually feel text cell phones should be shut off while we’re watching our kids in different activities.