My seventeen-year-old daughter is the baby of our family. She is the youngest one on both her father’s side of the family and mine. The next closest sibling she has is her cousin Kate who is seven years older, so for much of her childhood, Georgina was cosseted, pampered and spoilt with love by her grandparents, older siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins.
She grew into a boisterous and sunny teenager, who is confident, bossy and very capable. A couple of days ago, she cut her foot on sharp rocks whilst she was out swimming. Immediately, her uncle and older sister sprang into action as soon as she swam back to the boat.
Now, this aspiring medical student is not squeamish in the slightest and has a high pain threshold. She is more than capable of dealing with a cut that is not life-threatening. In fact, she is the one who deals with our cuts at home! But here she is, being ministered by two people, with love.
I also think big love attracts big love (the law of attraction). Her boyfriend of three years treats her like a queen. He kisses her hand respectfully, makes things for her (food, mementoes), buys her little thoughtful gifts (discount card with a frozen yoghurt stall that she loves, cover for her phone) and takes very, very good care of her. He gives her red roses regularly and writes (by hand) sweet notes to her even after three years (which is a long time in teenage relationships). It is as if on some deep level, he understands what this much-loved girl is made of….big love.
When you give a child “too much” love (it can never be too much), you don’t spoil her or make her soft. Discipline and boundaries are best learned in an environment of big love, because with big love, a child will never feel slighted or ‘not good enough’. When big love is prevalent you can engage in meaningful dialogues on difficult and emotive subjects without the damage. We sometimes have to pull her back, correct her, have arguments with her even (she is opinionated and argumentative) but she knows, and has mentioned a few times, that she really appreciates us. And for me, the highest accolade is when your child tells you, “I really appreciate you guys.”
A child with big love will also feel bold and therefore secure to try new things and reach new heights, because he or she knows that when things in life don’t work out, home is always waiting.
Too much love (and show it!!!) is better than not enough.