and that’s what love really is

Love is powerful…

It’s also complicated, crazy, blind, intoxicating, bizarre, and can be infuriating.

Love also comes in many different shapes and forms; the love we feel for our spouse or significant other, the love we have for our children, the love we have for our animals and the love we have for our friends.

Each different. Each powerful.

Growing up in a loving family, I never had any problems understanding just what love is and as such have never had trouble showing it either.

But of all the loves I mentioned above the love we have for our children is one that is both the most powerful and, at the same time, difficult to manage.

Some parents withhold love out of anger, others act as if their children walk on water.

Like most things in life, balance is everything.

No matter what happens, I will always love my son.

He is my flesh and blood and as my wife can attest to, is a mini-me.

It’s common knowledge that fathers are often closer to their daughters while sons, their mothers.

Not in my family.

He loves his mother dearly but he’s always been a daddy’s boy ever since he was young.

But I know that loving him means not just simply catering to his every whim.

It is my duty to do my best to prepare him for life.

And as we all well know, life can be a cruel teacher.

Each of us will experience failure, pain, setbacks, loss, fear and precarious situations – I can’t stop my son from falling, but I can teach him how to get back up.

So with that in mind I thought I’d share what I feel love is to me.

Love is

  • Punishing your child for doing something dangerous
  • Slapping the back of your kid’s hand because they’re not sitting properly (not to inflict pain, but to show your disapproval)
  • Playing a game with your child (and making it seem like you’re having the time of your life when in fact, you find it boring)
  • Reading your son’s favorite comic to him although you have no interest in it
  • Teaching them right from wrong.
  • Sticking strong to your rules even when it hurts. (children can handle most hardships but not hypocrites)
  • Waking up early to attend Karate lessons with your son because you know it will help him later on in life
  • Signing up for language lessons with your child that is struggling to learn at school
  • Giving your child the freedom they need to grow
  • Taking the time to answer your children’s questions (no matter how silly they may be)
  • Supporting your child; whether it be financial, emotion or physical
  • Holding your child’s hand while the doctor examines them
  • Sitting by your child’s bed after they come out of surgery
  • Encouraging your child when they are down
  • Teaching them humility when their ego gets too big
  • Leaving memories behind they will not only never forget, but share with others
  • Taking the time to write a message for your children to read when you are gone, sharing the greatest moment’s you have had together

There are some parents that shower their kids with lavish presents, but it’s not presents that they are after but presence; our presence.

Looking back on my own life, I can’t count all the toys my parents bought me (yes, they spoiled me).

But they were just things, what means the world to me today are the things we did together; the games, the trips, the crazy adventures, the silly stories, the laughter and yes, even the hard lessons.

The best gift I was given wasn’t any toy but simply being there for me.

When you become a parent, your single life ends and your new life begins.

It’s filled with successes and failures and I don’t begin to think I have all the answers. All I know is that my son is popular among his classmates, well liked by his teachers and an all around good boy (who does do bad things from time to time…after all, he is a boy).

It wasn’t till I heard Brian Tracy, a legend in the self-help field say something along the lines of, “The greatest gift you can give your child is that of unconditional love,” that did everything click.

Love lays the foundation for everything.

And that is what I try to live up to each and every day; being a loving but strong father.

It isn’t always easy, but it’s easier than you might think.

Adrian Shepherd

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