Feeling Unappreciated? Teach Kids How to Show Love and Consideration for Others
Have you had a celebration or special day that just didn’t happen quite like you imagined it? At our house, things rarely, if ever, match the beautiful vision I’ve created in my mind. It’s just not how our real life works.
This year in the weeks after Valentine’s Day, I met with many frustrated parents who felt unappreciated. They’d chosen to celebrate in some way and got nothing in return. As I heard similar stories over and over, I realized the same thing had happened to me. Isn’t it nice to know you’re not the only one!?
None of my children had given me a valentine. What!? I’m pretty sure I got a few mumbled “thank you” sentiments, but that’s really it. My feelings weren’t super hurt. I hadn’t done anything huge for them, but a little reciprocity would have been nice.
It was time for a Re-Do.
If you haven’t read our “Art of the Re-Do?”, you’re going to want to check it out. This has become such a part of our life that I forget it’s a tool we once had to learn. I absolutely love it. Yes, it drives my kids crazy at times, but this is how we used it in a fun way to teach how to show love and consideration for others.
At dinner one night, I made a light and playful announcement.
“You know what guys? I am going to give you a redo.”
Everybody looked at me like, “Huh? Why are you giving us a redo?”
To which I replied, “Valentine’s Day was pretty great. Did you enjoy your treats?” Of course, they agreed.
“Well, guess what? You forgot me! I know you didn’t mean to or want to. That’s why on Friday or Saturday morning, your choice, it’s Valentine’s Day to me. Won’t that be awesome? I can imagine you are excited because I am so excited!”
Everyone looked at me like I had lost my mind. Maybe, but I wanted them to slow down and take the chance to express love to me. It’s important and I need to hear it.
If this sounds over the top and selfish, that’s ok. You see, I am raising 3 sons who will one day be husbands and fathers. The last message I want to send is that their wife doesn’t have needs, or that her “job” is to make sure everyone else has a great day. What a disservice that would be to my future daughter-in-laws!
Relationships are a two-way street.
So with that in mind, over the next couple days, I asked for what I needed. I wanted them to know I was serious and at the same time keep it light.
It sounded like, “I’m so excited, I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Maybe a card, a foot rub, breakfast in bed, flowers… any of those will do. I just can’t wait!” Then I would give them a quick hug and walk away.
The results were amazing.
The first to lead out was Jared. He didn’t even need a redo, but that night he gave me the greatest gift as he modeled for our kids how to show up.
The next morning I woke up to the sweetest sound from two teenage boys, “Happy Valentine’s Day mom! I love you!” Then they handed me breakfast in bed. Later one of them shared, “I hope that was as good as the real day. I’m sorry I didn’t think to do anything.”
We were off to a great start, and still had two kiddos to go! I did my part and kept up the excitement with gentle reminders.
Late Friday night I fell asleep to the beautiful sound of clanging dishes coming from the kitchen. I woke up the next morning and found a darling valentine sitting in the middle of a clean kitchen. Wahoo!!
And finally, late Saturday night as the deadline was approaching I was given the final valentine. This beauty had been found in the desert a few weeks earlier and had been hiding behind a bush out front. Just in the knick of time it was washed with bleach and personalized just for me! Words can’t really describe it, so I’ll let you enjoy!
Here’s what surprised me the most. Too often I let my own needs take a back seat. Then, I end up feeling hurt and unappreciated. That hurts everyone.
I was overwhelmed with how good it felt to receive the love of my kids, even though I had to directly ask for it and pretty much tell them exactly what to do. When I took care of myself, I got to let go of any resentment or frustration towards the people I love the most, and my kids were able to practice showing up.
If you need a redo in your day, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Our people can’t always figure out what we need, but they’re usually willing to try.
That’s the beauty of asking for a redo. We all get to try again.