"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
When you teach children, teach them in the consciousness of their experience. Use their language to talk to them. If it's baby-talk, you use baby-talk. If it's love-talk, you use love-talk. It should all be love-talk. Even when you are saying, "Shh, be quiet," the child should not hear any harshness. The child should hear, "I love you very much; please be quiet now." Then the youngster will be quiet just to please you.
John-Roger (From: The Spiritual Family)
What does love mean?
A group of professionals posed the question, "What does love mean?" to a group of 4 - 8 year-olds and the answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:
"Love is that first feeling you feel before all the bad stuff gets in the way."
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your french fries without making them give you any of theirs."
"Love is when someone hurts you. And you get so mad but you don't yell at them because you know how it would hurt their feelings."
"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My mommy and daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
"When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you're scared they won't love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more."
"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
"Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken."
"Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
"I let my big sister pick on me because my Mom says she only picks on me because she loves me. So I pick on my baby sister because I love her."
"Love cards like Valentine's cards say stuff on them that we'd like to say ourselves, but we wouldn't be caught dead saying."
"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
"Love is when mommy sees daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
The price of a child
The government recently calculated the cost of raising child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock. That doesn't even touch college tuition. For those with kids, that figure leads to wild fantasies about all the things we could have bought, all the places we could have traveled, all the money we could have banked if not for (insert child's name here). For others, that number might confirm the decision to remain childless.
But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month or $171.08 a week. That's a mere $24.44 a day. Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice says don't have children if you want to be rich. It's just the opposite.
There's no way to put a price tag on:
What do you get for your $160,140?
For $160,140, You never have to grow up. You get to fingerprint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs and never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to keep reading the adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies and wishing on stars.
You get to frame rainbows, hearts and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.
For $160,140, there's no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a sliver, filling the wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.
For $160,140, you get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date, first time behind the wheel. You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren.
For $160,140, you get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications and human sexuality no college can match. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.