My 5-year-old son and I were recently lying on an air mattress in our tent pitched in the backyard as summer vacation drew to an end. We’ve done this every summer now for the last 3 years. It’s become a fun tradition we look forward to and plan for every year. The tent has a zip-away top so we can look up at the stars through a screen. We were lying there, talking softly, looking at the stars and enjoying a sweet bonding moment.
“Jacob,” I said softly in that context.
“I love you.” I tell him often, even daily. It’s important for children to be reminded. I tell him often enough that I’m confident he’ll never forget.
“I love you more.” He answered.
“I love you most!” I said in the spirit of playful one-upmanship. We’ve played this game countless times. I smiled. He giggled like he does when he’s about to say something silly. And then he changed the rules of the game by adding one more level:
“I love you most-er!”
We laughed at his silliness, then I thought about what he said. I reflected on how thoughtful my little boy is. As little kids will sometimes do, out of nowhere, he’ll suddenly proclaim, “I love transformers” or “I love pizza.” The funny thing is that his declaration will be in the middle of doing something completely unrelated to the thing he claims undying love for.
The touching thing is what he invariably says afterwards. Just after declaring his love for a toy or food or a TV show, he’ll glance up at me or my wife with a look of concern and add, “But I love my family more!” as if to soften the blow that there could possibly be anything he loves other than us. We’ve never prompted that. We are perfectly fine with him loving anything or anybody else. The more love, for that matter, the better! But he simply cares that we are reminded of his love for us.
But it got me thinking about what we love and how we demonstrate that love. What is at the top on our list of priorities? Can others look at how we live and recognize those priorities on that list? This is a great way to evaluate our values.
So what do you love most? Is there anything that secretly tops that list that we love even most-er?
Your heart will, indeed, be where your treasure is, where what you love the most is. Do you want to be a great mom or dad? What you truly love most may be getting in the way. Do you love the idea of being incredibly wealthy? Which do you love most-er? Can others tell by how you spend your time?
You see, what we love most-er will inevitably rob moments and energy from those things we love, but not the most.
Do you love your spouse most in your life? Or do you love the TV, the game, your friends, the bar, Facebook or something else even more? Can others tell by watching you that you love him/her more? Can he/she tell?
How does anyone know where your heart is? Answer: They watch what you do. Is what you do consistent with what you say you love? If not, then that just may be an indication of what you love most-er.
The good news is that we can choose what we value most in our lives. Then we can align ourselves to those values.
We can align our behavior to our chosen priorities. Doing this consistently, connecting with those values at a deep level, can re-school our hearts to love what we value the most, even lifting it to that lofty level of loving it the most-est.
What do you think?
Are your values aligned to how you spend your time?
Are you out of balance?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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