Send Love Letters To Your Kids

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Smile at your children, smile at each other — it doesn’t matter who it is
– and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.
–Mother Teresa

By Bernie Siegel, MD

Author of Love, Magic & Mudpies

at your children, smile at each other — it doesn’t matter who it is — and
that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.

–Mother Teresa

It’s not enough to love your kids. You have to tell them that you love them. They need your love poem tattooed
on their hearts so they can take it with them wherever they go. The famous poet
Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “I love you not for what you are but for what
I am when I am with you.” That’s the essence of a family. Let your children know
that their mere presence makes your life better every day and that they don’t
have to do anything other than be themselves to make the world a better place.
That is what makes your life and theirs meaningful. Don’t just say it; write it
down for them. Words seem to carry more weight when they are on paper. Write love
letters to your kids, send cards, and leave notes for them around the house.

Today, while searching through some desk drawers, I found a passage from a poem
called “I’m So Proud of You,” by Ruthann Tholen, that we sent to our children
on Valentine’s Day 1993. “When I held you as a child it was like taking up in
my arms all of my hopes for the future,” the poem begins. “I wondered then what
you would become, and you haven’t let me down.

“My child, you are a person to be proud of. You are sensitive, but strong, with
the courage to follow your own path, to know and do what is right for you. The
love between us needs few words, but is the foundation for all we give by being
there, by sharing time and effort, by our talks, and by our caring. I’m proud
when you accomplish things, but even prouder of the way you live. Whether you
win or lose, you do it with dignity and integrity and humanity, and I respect
that. From your own efforts, there has grown a deep goodness in you. I can wish
nothing more than that your life will hold a future of happiness.”

We signed each note, “I love you, and I’m very glad you are my child.”

I can assure you that poem is going out again. I know our children will be pleased to remember when they
first received it, and that it will encourage them and underscore how much they
are loved as they face their own challenges with their families.

While you’re spreading love around, be sure to tell all of your family members,
your neighbors, and your kids’ teachers how highly you think of your children
and how much you love them. Why? Because the word will get back to your kids,
and they will know you weren’t saying it to them just to make them feel better.
If you are telling it to everyone, they’ll believe

that you must really mean it. And they will be right.

How to Make the Magic: Get a book of poetry and and some meaningful poems to read or send to your
children. Share them with all of your kids, whether they’re still sitting in high
chairs or facing them, feeding kids of their own. If you’re having trouble with
one, give him or her a poem anyway. Do it today. Then go through your calendar
and make a note to give them another one on each and every holiday. After all,
no matter what conflicts arise, they will always be your children, and you still
have the right to love them, and they deserve to be loved.

Reprinted from: Love, Magic & Mudpies: Raising Your Kids to Feel Loved, Be
Kind, and Make a Difference by Bernie Siegel, MD C 2006 Bernie Siegel, MD.

(November 2006; $17.95US/$21.95CAN; 1-59486-554-X) Permission granted by Rodale,
Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the
publisher by calling at (800) 848-4735.


Bernie S. Siegel, MD, was born in Brooklyn, New York. For many, Bernie needs
no introduction. In 1978, he began talking about patient empowerment and the choice
to live fully and die in peace. In 1986, his first book, Love, Medicine &
Miracles was published; the book became a worldwide bestseller and redirected
his entire life. Bernie and his wife, Bobbie, have five

children and eight grandchildren. In times past, their home outside of New Haven,
Connecticut, with its many children, pets, and interests, has resembled a cross
between a family art gallery, museum, zoo, and automobile repair shop. It still
resembles these things, although the children are trying to improve its appearance
in order to avoid embarrassment.

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