A friend of mine posted this on his Facebook page today:
Very sad day in my neighborhood. A 14 year old boy living across the street took his life last night. He was a special kid who always had a big smile for you. He is already greatly missed.
If you have children, know children or have just met them… love on them, talk WITH them (not TO them) but most importantly, LISTEN to them… it’s amazing what they have to say (if we are just quiet)… and you never know, you may make ALL the difference.
Stories like this sadden my heart, it’s hard to know what caused the boy to take his life, but my friend saw a life that caused him to say something.
Imagine you have a child, maybe more than one, and you are so consumed with ‘stuff’ that you never have a meaningful conversation with your children. You know the kind of stuff I’m referring to, work, paying bills, planning your next vacation, farming on Facebook, tweeting your followers, pinning tails on donkeys, cleaning your space, and the list goes on. What are your children doing while you are busy being you?
What if your children never talk to you? How do you know what’s going on in their lives and what is their view of life? Are they happy, sad, mad, dazed and confused? Are they growing into confident young adults? What is their opinion of their home life and family? Do they feel loved, what questions do they have that you can answer? How was their day today, what did they have for lunch, what do they do with their friends when they’re out of sight out of mind?
My dad was my best friend and the day he died the only regret I had was that he was gone from this earth, but he lives to this day in my heart and memory. He knew that I loved him then and that I still love him and miss him and he knows that I can only hope to be half the man and father that he was.
My sons don’t speak and we have never had a conversation that lasted longer than 5 minutes and my sons are almost 17 years old.
My sons have Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder, but my sons know each and every day that I love them. How do they know? I tell them and I hug them and I treat them as if each and every moment might be the last time I might see them or they see me. When they get off the school bus every afternoon they greet me with “Dad” like they haven’t seen me in a life time even though I walked them to the bus just this morning and I get hugs and kisses.
For as long as it takes, I’ll look forward to the time my sons talk ‘with’ me. In the mean time, I’ll keep loving my children and communicate with them as best I can in hopes that when the day comes and they do speak to me, they’ll tell me thanks for loving them and thanks for listening and just being quiet while I was waiting.
Enjoy your children, encourage them, they are a gift and have so much to offer if only you will let them.