TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM

As I look back at it now, I can clearly see that it was one of those “life changing” events that you hear people talk about. They don’t happen very often, but when they do, you never forget them. It had a definite effect on me as both a person and a father.

It was nearly ten years ago when I did the funeral. It was for a man who was one of the last living WW1 veterans. He was in his late nineties when his long and highly decorated life came to an end. He was known as a good husband and father, and was highly respected by everyone who knew him.

The part of the funeral that will forever be burned in my memory happened before the service ever began. It was when I met with his two daughters at the funeral home to plan the service. We talked briefly about the service and then we prayed together. Just before I left, the oldest daughter began to cry and then she started weeping. It had been a long time since I’d seen anyone cry that hard. The younger daughter, crying now too, turned and looked at me and asked through her tears, “Can we ask you a question?”

Then the oldest daughter regained enough composure to say these words that I’ll never forget, “We know our Daddy loved us. We know he did, but please tell me why he never told us. Why couldn’t he just say it?”

I did my best to comfort them with what little words of wisdom I could muster, but sadly I really didn’t have a great answer. I left the funeral home realizing that those two women would carry the hurt and scars of that question with them the rest of their lives. Their father had been a good dad, but he made the colossal mistake of simply thinking that his girls knew that he loved them.

When I got home that day, I hugged each of my boys, looked them in the eyes and then told them that I love them. Would you believe that I still do that today, even though one is 19 and another is 6’6″? I vowed on that life changing day that I would, for the rest of my days on this earth, let them know that they are loved by their father. They may get tired of hearing it, but they WILL NEVER doubt my love for them.

When’s the last time you told your children that you love them?

(COMMENT OF THE DAY: Shane Coffman said… I’ve never heard those words from my Dad, either, but I refuse to make that same mistake with my wife or children.)

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
23 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Donna G says:

    Every time I talk to them. But great reminder.

  2. Hannah Grace says:

    wow that is really powerful! When I have kids I will make a point of letting them know verbally as well as through actions how much I love them.

  3. Candace Jean July 16 says:

    This brought back tears and reminded me of a post I did a while back on Reba’s “Greatest Man I Never Knew.” As I’ve gotten older, I realize he really did love me – it wasn’t his fault that his personality and upbringing kept him from saying it. The most important thing is that I learned from his ways. “I guess he thought I knew…” and I understand that now. I tell my kids every single time I talk to them – and they’re all grown up now.

  4. Robert Lukenbill says:

    For a father not to say he loves his children is a great travesty. I wonder, however, if it is not just that particular generation. It seems that generation and a little later are a little more gruff probably because of everything they went through in life. I could be wrong, but that is what my life experiences have led me to believe when interacting with those of the WW1 and WW2 generation.

  5. jel says:

    I know how them daughters felt,
    I don’t remember my dad ever say he loved me, but I know he did, in his actions , but it would have been nice to hear the words!

  6. Shane Coffman says:

    I’ve never heard those words from my Dad, either, but I refuse to make that same mistake with my wife or children.

  7. TREY MORGAN says:

    Candace Jean July 16 – Powerful words … I’m going to try and find that post you did. I’d like to read it. If you stop back by, please leave a link.

    Robert – I think you may have something on that thought.

    Jel – I’m sorry you didn’t hear that, but I’m glad you know it.

    Shane – Well said.

  8. Candace Jean July 16 says:

    Very powerful – and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I first posted. Then I listened to that song again. Whoa.
    http://tooblessed4myowngood.blogspot.com/2008/06/greatest-man-i-never-knew.html

    wv:yabuit, as in “Yabuit, you know I love you….” :)

  9. Peter P says:

    Every opportunity I get, no matter how small!

    If they don’t know for certain that I love them, how will they ever believe that their heavenly father loves them?

  10. katy says:

    I agree with Robert. My father is the same way. At 86 now, I think he only said ‘I love you’ to me once.

    While it would be nice to hear it, I know as a reserved inexpressive man, that’s who he is. I don’t fault him. I say ‘I love you’ to him and I can tell he is saying it back in his eyes and by his action.

    Our generation is different. We want to hear the words. But words without the action is worst. Of course, we should have both words and action to show love to our children.

  11. Marci says:

    Great reminder. I tell my kids everytime they leave or I leave that I love them. I also tell them when I first see them and when they go to bed. It scares me to think that the one time I don’t say I love you that it will be the last time I speak to them and doubt that I love them and I am very proud of them. Ryan and I are always telling them I love you and they will probably be tired of it by the time I am old, but I just can’t help it.

  12. Terry says:

    Awesome post!

  13. cwinwc says:

    To not slam the WW1 Vet too much, I believe that to some degree, he was a product of his generation. Even my father, as devoted and supportive as he was never for the most part uttered those words. I’m not making an excuse but perhaps shedding some light on what could have been the cause.

    Nevertheless you are right my brother. We never know when it will our last chance to tell the ones that we love, that we do love them.

  14. cwinwc says:

    Opps, I didn’t see Robert’s comment on “generation.” I agree with him.

  15. L.C.T. says:

    So important. I’m so very lucky to have a father, mother and sister who tell me they love me so so often. And I do likewise. Lovely post.

  16. Stoogelover says:

    My dad finally said those words later in his life, but it was rare. My wife’s family said (and say) those words often and with genuine affection. We are very intentional about never leaving either of our children or grandchildren without telling them we love them. The daughter-in-law doesn’t always say it back, but our two children do.

  17. Cecelia says:

    Reading that blog,Trey,I could have been reading about my sister & I.Daddy wouldn't tell us he loved us either.
    I tell Aaron incessantly how much I love him & after watching my beloved Andrew nearly slip away from me,I NEVER miss a day to express my undying love for him.
    Thank you for this blog.

  18. Steve says:

    I think it is so important to tell your children not only that you love them often, but also to give them a steady stream of encouraging words. In a world that can be very hard on young people, we need to be telling them that we are proud of them and that they are going to do well. And especially if your kids are PK’s, they need to know that they come first.

  19. Ginger says:

    I tell my kids every chance I get that I love them! Both of the kids have always been good at expressing their feelings for us as well, even in front of friends. It always makes me feel good.

    My dad raised me and I don’t remember us saying “I love you” much to one another, but I know without a doubt he loves me more than anything. When he does tell me, it always makes me smile because I know he is not much on expressing feelings. That is one reason we really wanted to raise our children to be comfortable with showing their feelings. We may not can give them all the material things they want, but we can give them the most important and that is to be loved and to know what it is to love someone else!

  20. Timbra says:

    i think i told alani eight times before we got out of bed this morning :) also. . got the card/note and we knew about the old switcharoo with taylor and “the other boy” i think we’ll be pleased regardless. we’re just excited about a team and all the possibilities. . . and maybe we’ll just have to visit miami next year about this time when our aim team has had their fill of all the snow that they are (misguidedly) looking forward to at this juncture in their lives . . . . AND furthermore, glad to see your blog’s good for something and got you on the Tulsa circuit this year!!!! love timbra

  21. Anonymous says:

    Boo hoo. I bet there are more people out there who were constantly told they were loved but never felt the love than the other way around. The girls in Trey’s story knew they were loved. The old man may have never uttered the words, but he communicated his love to them just the same.

    Some people are just never satisfied. Personally I could do with less lip service and more action.

    -D

    Now before you start slinging arrows at me remember, I love you.

  22. truthsaves.org says:

    I think my five month old said “I love you” to me the other day! :) She hears it so much!

    Eric
    truthsaves.org

  23. Haley says:

    I’m not really sure how I missed this post; but I’m glad I found it tonight. Both my mom and my dad always told/tell me they love me, and I know without a doubt that they mean those words and it’s one of the greatest gifts they could give. Knowing a person loves you is one thing but hearing them say it is a completely different thing. Hearing those words lets a person know they are accepted for who they are no matter what; it builds self-esteem and self-confidence. Love and being loved is such a huge part of human nature; a person needs to be told they are loved. I thank my parents for always telling me that they loved me.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
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