“But Mom there is one thing missing- – – ”

I always love the time I have with my kids early in the morning. When I drop them off to school, I love the opportunity God is always giving me to be with them. While their brain is fresh and wide awake to absorb anything, I strive to speak truth to their hearts using every opportunity I get. We always pray as we drive to their school. We usually listen to the Christian radio channels, such as 95.1FM (WRBS), 91.9FM (WGTS) and 105.1FM (WAVA). I can’t tell you how much these radio stations changed my life and theirs for the better. May the LORD bless the people behind these stations!

So, three or four weeks ago, while we were listening to one of these radio stations, we heard one of those one minute long radio programs called “Family Minute with Dr. Bill Maier”. The topic was what teenagers long to hear from their parents. So, Dr. Maier said, “As the study which was done with teenagers has shown, teenagers mainly long to hear these three phrases from their parents.”

Oh, my! Was I excited to hear it! I was; so were my kids. So, I increased the volume and Dr. Maier continued, “The three things teenagers long to hear from their parents are “I love you,” “Thank you” and “I’m sorry”.”

You can just imagine how fast I turned the radio off to ask them what they thought about that study result.

They said, unanimously, “Yes, that is very true, Mom.”

And I asked them the hardest question a mother could ever ask her teenagers: “So, how am I doing with those phrases?”

“You are doing great, Mom.”

Before I digested those encouraging words, my only, beautiful daughter added to that statement, “but,”

I said, “But what?”

She said, “But Mom there is one thing missing; especially for me. I wish they added this to the list.”

I was just about to stop the car in the middle of the road. I always strive to do a great job in raising my kids. They are my world; they are my “careers,” raising them is my number two ministry (my number one being serving my husband) and what I do with my kids is something I don’t see lightly. I know that God measures my spiritual maturity against these two important ministries. And I thought I was doing very good job on taking care of my kids’ emotional needs. I guess I was not.

My daughter said, “Mom, first let me say this: With the “I love you,” “Thank you” and “I’m sorry” part, I think you are doing more than we long to hear it. I really appreciate that. But I personally long to hear you say “I’m proud of you” too. I don’t think you say that to us that much often.”

Oh, my! I didn’t expect that to come and I thought I said that phrase to them for enough number of times. I never knew that I was caught up with encouraging and challenging them to do better to the level of their potential by saying things such as, “Good for you for getting A with this subject but if there was a chance for you to get A+, getting A is not a big deal.”

First I felt offended and said, “I remember saying that recently; but that is not fair for you to say that to me. I say that to you guys.”

She said calmly, “Mom, I didn’t say that you won’t say it; but I’m just saying that I wish you said it more often than thank you and I’m sorry. I long to hear you say “I am proud of you” with the little effort I put into my school and extracurricular activities.”

Well, hands down! My daughter is the best communicator you can ever find. And she doesn’t just say things for the sake of saying it. She is a voracious reader and she has good vocabularies to nail it all down in one or two simple sentences.

So, I said, “Okay, I’m so sorry for failing you guys there. From now on, I will make sure I use that phrase as often as I can.”

Now, my dear, I say “I’m very proud of you” to my kids even when they wake up from their sleeps or finish their dinner and I didn’t hear anyone of them saying to me something like, “This “I’m proud of you” statement is getting out of control.”

None of them say that. Rather they say, “Thank you Mom!”

Oh, how I missed it! How I didn’t see it! Oh, I sure had a blind spot right there which blinded me to the point of not seeing the obvious! But I thank God for giving me an opportunity to have such an open discussion with them before it was too late.

So, this is my message for today: Yes, for every relationship, whether it be parent-child; husband-wife; sister-brother or what have you, it is good to sit and take an “inventory” of our relationship, to see how we are doing; how we are taking care of each other’s need, not according to what we think but according to them, them who are at the receiving end. It is good to ask how we are doing in our role as parents, siblings, friends or co-workers so that our relationships will be fruitful and nurturing for all of us.

After all we all have needs others may not be able to know unless we tell them. So, sometimes it is good to sit and talk so that we let each other know about our needs. We also have to be willing to hear them  so that we can treat them in the way they want to be treated. Isn’t that what we all want from others; for others to treat us the way we want to be treated? Then it is good to follow the Golden Rule that says:

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31

If you are a parent, make sure you say to your kids, “I love you,” “Thank you,” “I’m sorry” and of course, “I’m proud of you.” ///