When your young child reaches the teenage years it may seem he or she doesn’t want the physical and emotional affection of mom or dad. But perhaps more than any time in their life a teenager needs to experience the “unfailing love” of his or her parents.
A young girl wrote this song about her absentee dad:
I wear your old clothes, your polo sweater. I dream of another you, the one who would never leave me alone to pick up the pieces – a daddy to hold me. That’s what I needed.
That young girl would grow up to record those words in the song “Confessions of a Broken Heart.” She would perform in movies, be in and out of jail, go to rehab and struggle “getting her act together.” And so when you look beyond the erratic behavior of actor, songwriter and musical artist Lindsay Lohan you see a girl in search of her father’s love.
An extraordinarily talented 5-year-old boy was rehearsing with his four brothers. The singing brothers were practicing for an upcoming TV special. Their father was guiding them through a number and the boys weren’t getting their parts just right. The little 5-year-old wanted a clarification so he addressed his father. “Daddy,” he began. But instantly his father interrupted him and sternly stated “I’m not your father now, I’m your manager and don’t you ever forget it.” And little Michael Jackson never did.
A few years before Michael’s death, he was speaking to some 800 students at Oxford University. He was promoting his newly-formed foundation, “Help the Children.” About fifteen minutes into his presentation he began to weep almost uncontrollably. After a few minutes he regained his composure and seemingly out of nowhere said, “I just wanted a dad. I wanted a father to show me love. But I never once heard my father say, ‘Michael, I love you.’”
More than fortune or fame; more than peer acceptance or anything else your kids could dream for, they want to know you are there for them with “unfailing love.” No, you don’t toss out the rules or lower the boundaries of protection. They need the boundaries to feel secure. But they need those rules and boundaries within the context of your loving relationship. The power of your love toward them will be the motivating factor to make the right moral choices.
When you finish reading these words, go to your child or teenager and surprise them with a hug. As you wrap your arms around them let them hear your words, “I love you.” And then commit to letting them see your love modeled before them every day. As you do, you will be convincing their emotions that you are there for them with an “unfailing love.” Your loving relationship can empower them to believe right, embrace the right values, and live right. That is the power of love.
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