Different Kids, Different Love?


There’s no doubt that each of my four kids takes after me in their own unique way, just like each one takes after my wife. There’s also no doubt that all four are vastly different from the two of us—and from each other. The apples didn’t fall far from the trees, but it’s fair to say they’ve rolled away a little. So as a dad, I often have to remind myself that my children—my own flesh and blood, the ones I’ve helped to nurture and raise—are people, just like anybody else.

They’re real people, which means I have to work to relate to them just like I work to relate to others. Which means that the relating won’t always feel like second nature. Just like anybody else on the planet, each of my kids has a personality that I both enjoy and endure. They make choices I admire and argue about. They hold opinions that match and conflict with my own. They have attitudes I sometimes cheer for and sometimes despise.

Some things about each of them are easy for me to understand; others I can’t begin to comprehend. Some days we get along just fine; others aren’t so pretty. Four kids, four different people. I have a God-given love for all of them—so fierce that I can’t begin to explain it. Yet my relationships with each of them are distinct, because each one craves love in a vastly different way.

Many times, the children who are least like us are the best at helping to sharpen our skills at relationships. They force us to exercise our minds, to approach issues from new angles. As a result, we become more well-rounded people and more effective parents. Our children are different and they’re different from us—that’s the strain and the beauty of it. And if we seek to love them based on love rather than based on ourselves, we’ll find that the love is only better because of the differences.