When I was in high school, my dad traveled a lot for work. He would be gone for several weeks at a time. It was always difficult to watch him leave and I know it was lonely for him. I played soccer and baseball and he missed a lot of my games. It never upset me because he was working to provide for the family and I knew he wanted to be there. The reason I knew is because when he was home, he was always there. There were times he would return from a long trip and show up at one of my practices. It was a simple and wonderful surprise. My dad smoked Tijuana Smalls cigars all the time (not something I recommend) and even my teammates would comment on his presence. Without looking towards the bleachers, they would say, “Smells like Mr. Foster is here.”
Consistent acts of love, no matter how small, mean everything to the ones on the receiving end.Showing up at my practices wasn’t a grand gesture. It was a simple way my dad communicated that he loved me. Consistent acts of love, no matter how small, mean everything to the ones on the receiving end. It did for me. With that in mind, here are simple gestures that say, “I love my son.”
Play physically with him.
Generally speaking, boys love physical contact. It is one of the biggest ways they connect. They also tend to have a lot of energy bubbling out of them. There is no one they would rather play physically with than their dad. Take him down to the carpet and wrestle with him. Play tackle football in the backyard. You may be sore, but the way your son will feel loved is well worth the price.
Give him spontaneous praise.
Don’t wait for a certain moment or performance to give him encouragement and appreciation. Turn to him and do it at any moment. Tell him why you are proud of him. Do it privately and publicly. Let him know that you believe in him. Explain to him the qualities of a strong man he already possesses.
Talk to him about his favorite subjects.
Video games, toys, and a certain TV show may not be something you like to talk about. However, in his world, there is nothing else more exciting. Just like anyone: When there is something exciting in our life, we want to tell the people we care about. He wants to tell you. Be interested in it. Ask him questions and validate his enthusiasm. He’ll feel it and never forget it.
Involve him in your to-do list.
When we have a lot of errands and household jobs, we tend to put something in front of our kids to occupy them. However, they want to be with us and connect. It can create tension. Have him work with you. Tell him you need his help. He will feel empowerment and a sense of approval. The project may take more time, but it will be time well spent.
Affection may not be your thing. If so, get past it because it’s essential. Hug and kiss him every day. My dad gave me a kiss on the cheek every day and it’s one of the first things I remember about him. Again, boys connect physically. You can give him a bump when you are walking together or rub his head. I guarantee it will bring a smile to his face because he will know what you are saying.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Do you know why I love you?”