There are times when my now 6-year old daughter desperately needs assurance. This often manifests itself in a question either about love ("Will you always love me?") or in a question about commitment ("If bad guys stole me, would you come find me?"). While she is very easily passified with my sincere and genuine answers (Nothing you could ever do would make me love you less and nothing you could ever do can make me love you more") and ("No matter what, I not stop until I find you"), I can tell that her very being is trying to comprehend how she fits into the life that she is in. She is both consciously and subconsciously seeking to understand what it means to be the black daughter of two white parents, to be from half way around the world, and to understand the ever changing dynamic of school and modern society.
So what is my strategy? First off, I do my best to pray for my children as much as possible. I pray that God lets them learn through experiences that they are unconditionally loved, both by Him and by their mother and I. There are times when they will get hurt, both physically and mentally. I need to constantly remind myself that making mistakes and being hurt is a necessary part of life rather than rushing in to shield them from everything (although there are times when I may have to). Secondly, I tell them constantly how much I love them, how proud I am of them, and how much they mean to me. I never want them to doubt that. I also encourage them to have opinions on everything, both things they like and dislike. If they dislike something, then I want them to think about a positive way to make it better. Lastly, even when I don’t have the answers (which is more oft than I care to admit), I try to pray for guidance and do my best to prepare for when that question comes up the next time. Because I am not always in the same circumstance and have the same perspective, I try to avoid telling them that I know how they feel. Because I don’t. Just like them, I am unique in my point of view.
I cannot always hold their hand and guide them, but I do want to provide them with both the courage and confidence to face the unknowns that are life. That, to me, is assurance.