Rebecca Hagelin

With Valentine's Day just around the corner I think it's time we have an honest discussion about the meaning of love.

Of course, given that there are different types of love, as in "I love chocolate!" (which I do), or "I love sleeping late on Saturday morning," (again, which I do) or "I love my dog, Boogie," (which I don't because I don't even have a dog), or "I love you, Hubby," (which I really, really do) - I need to distinguish which type of love I'm talking about here.

It's the love that a parent has for his or her child, and how that love is put into practice.

I don't think any sane parent would venture to say that we don't love our sons or daughters. But, the truth is, many of us don't act like it.

The sad reality is that showing true love for our own flesh and blood in today's society, for many parents, is often replaced with a totally selfish desire on the part of the parent to be liked by their child.

In other words, so many moms and dads today want to be our children's "friend" more than we want to protect, nurture, and mold them into the best that they can be. Simply put, we're so afraid to challenge them that we're failing in our duties to show real love toward our children by protecting them.

Let me give you a few examples:

16-year-old Rianna wants to go to a party on Friday night. Her mom has no idea where she is going, with whom Rianna will be, or what they will be doing. Mom won't take the time and effort to find out - she never does. Tell that parental love in practice?

14-year-old Sam goes to his room almost every night and spends hours online. Dad has never, ever checked the internet sites Sam is visiting, never asked to see his "friends" list on Facebook, and hasn't dared to put a filter on the computer to protect Sam from getting slammed by porno e-mails. Tell that parental love in practice?

12-year-old Ashley often dresses in a thong, low-cut jeans and a shirt that reveals her developing cleavage. Mom and Dad actually give her the money to buy the clothes and even drop her off at the mall for shopping sprees. Yes, Dad moans a bit when his precious little girl walks out the door looking like a street walker, and Mom whines every now and then about the styles - but neither one actually does anything about it. Tell that parental love in practice?

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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