By A. D. Jenkins, NDG Columnist
In the spring of 2007, I stood by my car and something captured my attention. It caused me to stop, reflect and appreciate life and the gift of a child. A week earlier, my neighbor’s daughter suddenly passed away because of meningitis. I last saw the little girl on a Friday riding her bike and she died the following Monday.
On this day, I witnessed the mom kneeling in a squatting position staring at flowers for quite some time in her yard. I thought maybe they planted the flowers together. I could only imagine her agony, grief, and suffering inside. However, actually, only God knew her true thoughts. I felt so powerless, it hurt me to watch while time stood still.
She was facing the reality that her daughter of 10 years was no longer with her to sing, play, dance and enjoy life. God’s angels were dispatched down to earth to escort the little girl to her place in Heaven. No one knows the day nor the hour when our time will be no more here on earth. This is why it’s so important to love often, freely and sincerely. It’s not a suggestion but a commandment from God.
Children can be a challenge at times, however, I encourage everyone to give children a hug, listen to them, be a part of their world and let them know they are loved unconditionally. In my recent article on the Lost Art: Spiritual Education, I briefly mentioned how disrespectful our youth can be toward their parents, the elderly and people in authoritative roles. Whereas this can be true, we are obligated to stand in the gap and display love.
Love greatly improves a child’s self-esteem as their mind develops each day. This is done through positive reinforcement and daily support. Love has been found to be a key element to a child’s health. With a steady dose of affection and love, the chance of a child staying healthy is much higher. Also, exercising confidence and love can improve their grades.
Research after research has shown loving your children makes a world of a difference. It does not matter if you prefer new or old parenting techniques, as long as love is embedded in the foundation. We all want our children to grow and enjoy happy and successful lives. Therefore, we spend countless time focusing on the appropriate way to manage, discipline and encourage them. At the end of the day, we fall short on love. Take advantage of all opportunities to appreciate the precious gifts called “children” and then remember the greatest commandment of all is LOVE.
I understood love could not bring the little girl back to life, but she was dearly loved while with us on earth.
Three things will last forever: Faith, Hope, and Love. We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that the greatest of these is Love.
A.D. Jenkins serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Irving Independent School District. The views and opinions expressed herein of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Irving ISD, its Board of Trustees or its employees.