Do you ever get the feeling we spend so much time worrying about the mistakes we may or may not be making as parents, that we forget what our kids need most from us is to simply know that they are loved?
A note that a father left in his daughter’s lunchbox 20 years ago has become a Reddit sensation this week:
“Dear Katie,” the note reads,“Guess how to spell the name of the sandwich I put in your lunchbox today:
Then guess how much I love you.
Have a great day. Love, Dad.”
31-year-old Katie Rogal has had this note from her father, Jim Rogal, taped to her fridge for over a decade. He slipped it into her lunchbox before school when she was about 8-years-old. He admitted to Yahoo Parenting that he’s “very sentimental” and saved it for her. So many people on Reddit connected with the image: it’s sweet, it’s simple, and it proves a very important point about parenting.
Our children need to know they are loved. Everything else is white noise.
This is not to say they don’t need to be taught valuable lessons, disciplined, and showered with all of the other attention parenting requires. But this gesture really shines a light on the subtle things that our children remember.
There was nothing fancy about the note. It’s not something you’d show off on Pinterest or humble brag about on Facebook. It’s just a gesture. We can read this anecdote about a father who set a note in his child’s lunchbox 20 years ago and not wonder for a minute whether the choices he made as a parent were sound. We know that they were, because of the relationship he has with his child.
If only we could give each other that same benefit of the doubt — in real time.
This week, forget about the latest study telling you how much time you should be spending with your child and how exactly you should be spending it and go write some notes. Or hug your kid. Or put a picture he made that he’s really proud of in a frame and hang it over your couch.
It’s the little things, parents. (Thank goodness.)