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Back in June of 2011 my boys were 12 and 8, and I was a stressed-out mom trying to be a better parent. Yelling had become my default mode of communication when the kids were acting up, and I hated that I had let myself become that way. So I made a commitment to tell my kids something I loved about them each and every day of June. And I posted those words on Facebook and encouraged everyone to try something similar with their own children. I don’t know if anyone else ever completed the challenge, but I was glad that I was able to. And when June came around this year and I started seeing these posts come up in my Memories, I decided to remind my boys of these things that I loved about them. Each morning this month I have taken a screenshot of the memory and sent it to them so they could start their days knowing I still love them just as much if not more than I did when they were little.

Below is the post I made on the first day of the project, and what follows are the screenshots that I sent to Grant and Griffin each day this month. I’m considering doing another one of these projects now that they are grown. Let me know if you think I should give it a try!

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

“Why do I have to hound you to do your homework?”
“Would it kill you to pick up your clothes?”
“Not good enough! Try harder!”
“Why can’t you be more like your brother?”
“Your sister never gave me this much trouble.”
“You’re not actually considering wearing THAT are you?”
“Stop whining!”
“Well if you studied more, you’d get better grades.”
“You’re giving me a headache!”
“Go to your room until you’re ready to apologize for your behavior!”

If you’re like me, you find yourself saying some/most/all of those things to your kids, especially your teenagers. And as parents we certainly mean well. We just want them to grow up to be respectful, productive members of society. That’s our job, right? 
But far too often those criticisms end up being the only things we say to our child on a given day. Of course we love our children. There’s never any doubt about that, no matter how much they drive us crazy. And they know that we love them in spite of everything, don’t they?

Or do they? 

Before I go any further, I have a confession to make. I am not a perfect parent. I work full time. I also run my photography business. My kids have loads of activities that I have to shuttle them to and from. I have a house to keep clean. A dog to take care of. A husband. A garden overrun by weeds. Mounds of laundry. Groceries to buy. Somewhere in there I have to find time to sleep. In other words, my plate is full. Overflowing, in fact. 

Recently I’ve noticed that something has been missing from this “must-do” list: telling my children all of the different ways that I love them. I get so caught up in making sure their homework is done and that they are doing their chores and that they are learning respect and responsibility and all those other things that they’ll need to be productive members of society that I seem to have completely forgotten to teach them the most important lesson of all: love.

So I have vowed to change this. They say that it takes twenty-one days to create a new habit. Well, I’m giving myself thirty. The thirty days of June. I pledge to tell my kids all of the things that I love about them during that time. And I will be making it public just to keep myself accountable! 

Here’s my plan: every day I will pick one thing that I love about each of my children and then I will make it my Facebook status. I will leave it as my status for a least an hour or two, so that all of my Facebook friends can see something wonderful about my kids, instead of just the usual criticisms. And then there’s the most important part of this plan – every day I will be sure to tell my children these things!

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