"You belong to me."
These are some of the most wonderful, powerful words that can ever be spoken....or heard.
Has anyone ever told you that? A parent, or a husband, or a friend? Maybe a grandparent?
Maybe you've never once heard them, but wish you had.
These words are special because they are part of a larger story. They hold meaning and history and love and fierceness and ownership. They mean identity and a sense of place. They mean comfort and protection and nurture.
They mean connectedness.
They mean home.
Sometimes we get busy with life and we shout, "Love you!" as a car door closes, or whisper our "Love yous" as we turn out the light, with a kiss and a hug. These are important and wonderful to our kids and spouses. But I wonder how often we take the time to look in their eyes and say:
You are mine.
You belong to me.
There is no greater gift I've been given in this world - than you.
Psychology tells us that "belongingness" is one of the most powerful human needs in the world. In fact, it is listed as one of the top 5 needs of a human, which compels much of the activity in the world. Connecting with others, giving and receiving love, identifying with something larger than yourself...these are all part of the belonging that each of us craves.
Giving your children a sense of belonging is one of the most important things you can do for them. They will go out into the world and learn that they don't belong to the popular crowd, or to the iphone5 crowd, or that they don't go to the right school or drive the right car to belong in a group they think is cool. They'll feel excluded from friendships and denied acceptance at the lunch table. They won't be invited to a birthday party, which is the most horrible of horrors. They will doubt their place in this world. It will happen.
But they will always belong to you. You will always see the best in them. You'll see their talents and their abilities and the way their eyes light up when they talk about dinosaurs or legos or pancakes. You'll see how they shine, how they fail, how they try and how they hurt. You'll see everything about them and notice all the details...because they are yours.
And they will always have that deep sense of belonging in their heart because you gave it to them.
There is strength in it. There is power. And even when the time comes that your teenager doesn't really want to be seen with you in public, they will always know deep down...that they belong to you, and there is safety in that knowledge.
Today's Small Thing is to say, "You belong to me."
Maybe the words feel awkward and a little corny. You don't know how to pop that into a conversation. But perhaps tonight, when the light is out and little heads are tucked on pillows, you should lean in close and whisper.
"You are mine. I love you, and you belong to me. I will never let you go. You are my gift, my light, my joy."
And maybe they'll say, "Aw, mom! Yuck!" But they will smile in the dark, because they belong somewhere. To someone.
And that, my dear friend, is more precious than anything.
Tell me your story of belonging: do you feel a sense of belonging? Do your children know - through your words and actions - that they belong? How did they respond to your words today?