With it being Valentines day I would like to talk about Love and how it changed my life.
About two years ago I was at a low point. I was struggling to know how to help Jacob. This was before we officially knew there was anything wrong with him.
I would spend multiple hours, everyday fighting with Jacob, I tried everything to calm him down. He would kick and scream and say how much he hated me. He was out of control and I was in tears every day. After a particularly hard day Jason suggested that I pray specifically for help with Jacob. So I knelt and prayed. The answer that came to me was “Love him, just LOVE him!” I know what you are thinking, this sounds a bit ridiculous, he is my son, so of course I love him. This is exactly what I thought until the next day when Jacob had a really bad meltdown. I was getting mad at him and fighting back. I finally placed him in his room and closed the door. As I sat outside his room crying the thought came again “LOVE him, just LOVE him!” I opened the door and very calmly said “Jacob I love you very much. Do you need a hug?” And I was shocked by his positive reaction. It was amazing to watch his heart soften as he allowed me to hug him. From this day on, I focused on showing more love to Jacob. AT ALL TIMES.
I started focusing on showing more love on a consistent basis. I started randomly walking over to one of my kids and saying “ I love you”. The first time I did it Jacob looked at me like I was crazy. But as time went on he became very receptive, and sometimes hugged me, or at least allowed me to hug him.
I also focused on when he was upset. I used Love and compassion instead of anger and contention. Meaning, when he would start getting overwhelmed and therefore start hitting or yelling I would respond with hugs and an outpouring of love. When he has a meltdown I first remove him to a safe, quiet place, and then let him release his anger. I usually remain in his room so I can make sure he doesn’t hurt himself but I have learned that when Jacob (like many other children) are upset, less is more. Which is why I do not look at him and I speak calmly and respond to his ranting with only the occasional “I Love you”.
This method, although it seems simple, is not always easy. Sometimes it takes everything in me to not start screaming on the top of my lungs. I have been punched in the face, stabbed with a pen, had countless things thrown at me, but when those things become to much, I remove myself, scream into a pillow, take a deep breath and then return with four words “I love you Jacob”. Some days become too much and sometimes I give in to frustration and anger but I know that I need to remind myself that love is more affective than anger, that calm voices are better understood than yelling, and that tomorrow I can try again.
As I began telling Jacob, and my other kids, at least 6 or 7 times a day that I love them, my love for them began to grow and Jacob’s behavior has improved dramatically. I know that as I tell my children genuinely that I love them they will learn to trust me, and they will know I will always be there for them. I also believe showing my children limitless amounts of love will help them become more compassionate and loving people to others.
I love this quote I found:
It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. Its our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.
Over the past 2 years Love has become a more active principle in our home. It has blessed me in ways I cannot describe. I have never really enjoyed Valentines day, but through this journey I have learned about the true purpose of love and how it can soften the hearts of others. This Valentines day I am taking the time to reflect on the many ways love has blessed my life. I am so grateful for my husband for reminding me to ask for help, and for my Heavenly Father who was there to answer. Because “When life gives you more than you can stand, Kneel.”