Everyone says you'll never experience love the way you do when your children are born. True. But, it's more than love for your child. It's that the moment your own child is born, you become every child's parent.
When you've changed one diaper, you can change anyone's kid. That little girl needs help at the water fountain, you've got this. And, when a child is in pain, at the park, in your town or anywhere in the world, your heart breaks in a new way.
I've always been a huge baby fan. I love all babies. In that, oh, can I hold that cutie until she cries kind of way. However, when I became a stepmom, my heart changed. Raising children in a broken home has unique challenges and we went through a lot of them. As we grew and changed, we could also see our pain and struggles in other kids in the same situation. And then, when my daughter was born, another new door opened.
When I volunteered in her classroom, I experienced a kind of parental euphoria each time a classmate read at a higher level or passed another timed multiplication test. It was this kind of personal love that opened my mind and then my family's to children outside our circle, as well.
As a parent, when I see the refugee crisis in Syria or a pregnant teen or hungry children here in the US, it's personal. There are many people who are not parents who reach out to those in need in powerful and helpful ways. Certainly, you need not be a parent to love children. But, for me, I was inspired to love other people's children better because of my own.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.