For some of you, this week’s blog will simply be an encouragement to continue doing what you already do. For others, it will be a reminder of the important variety.

When recently talking on the phone with my 18-year-old son about his plans for the evening, he casually ended our conversation with, “Love you.” I have had similar conversations with my 21-year-old son. The remarkable thing is that these conversations are not unusual, they are typical, whether in person or over the telephone.

Something jumps in my heart when my young adult sons insert, “Love you dad” into a conversation. I am immediately aware that they are becoming young men and while I haven’t taken a survey, I suspect that many 18 to 21 year olds may not think it too cool to express their affection for their dads this way. I find myself feeling blessed and fortunate that my sons have come to the opposite conclusion.

On the other hand, I guess it is fair to say that my boys have come to develop the habit of affectionate verbalizations honestly, because they have heard these same verbalizations from both Lora and me for years. Perhaps they expect to hear them from their mom, after all, “I love you” often comes with mom territory. But they have also heard them from their dad. Plenty of times. Probably hundreds.

“I love you pal.”

Just writing those words brings a surge of emotion to me and tears behind my eyes, because they evoke so many memories of the times I’ve said them to each of my boys.

- Leaving for school in the morning.
- Playing a video game.
- Doing homework.
- Shooting baskets outside.
- Cleaning up the basement.
- Playing hockey in the basement.
- Saying nightly prayers.

All of these have been occasions to give my boys a simple reminder of what they already knew: Their dad loves them.

Whether you are a mother or father, your kids will never grow tired of hearing that you love them. It doesn’t have to be demonstrative, it just needs to be sincere and backed up by the way you live with them every day.

If your kids feel loved by you and become accustomed to hearing that love expressed, they may develop the habit of expressing it themselves. Then you will get a glimpse, just as I have, of how that makes them feel.

Because you will feel it too.

How do you tell your kids that you love them?

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