“We love him unconditionally” a grandmother just shared with me.
Others have asked me, “what does unconditional love even mean?
When we love someone unconditionally, there are no conditions to our love. We don’t just love our children when they are performing well, succeeding, pleasing, but also when they annoy us, disappoint us, challenge us, worry us.
Because it is often at these times that our children need our love the most.
When I was teaching first graders, I realized quickly that the child who was acting out or being challenging was the child who was actually teaching me to think about my program, my structure, my expectations, my affirmation.
And that’s what unconditional love expects from us.
It’s not about being perfect, as the child or the parent, but it is about being present, listening, caring, accepting, supporting, affirming, changing.
Author Stephen Covey wrote “love is not just a feeling. Love is a verb.”
And as we all learned in elementary school, a verb is an action word.
And so as parents, grandparents, and all who care for children – when disappointment comes, when challenges rear, when we feel perplexed and insecure, we need to trust in ourselves and in our relationship with our child.
We need to listen…to support …sometimes, to change… to affirm… to act.
That’s what unconditional love is.