Sometimes, all it takes to encourage our children is just a word or two. It's so easy to look at the negative things they do and point those out but how many times do you point out the positive things? I love the following poem:
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn what envy is.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement, they learn to be confident.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to find love in the world.
If children live with recognition, they learn to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn to be generous.
If children live with honesty and fairness, they learn what truth and justice are.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those around them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If children live with serenity, they learn to have peace of mind.
With what are your children living?
Look at the very first line. OUCH!!!! I've been guilty of this one and I'm working to change it.
An example of what a difference encouraging words can be is a conversation between me and Emily the other night as she was going to bed.
Terri: "Emily, you were such a big help to me today. I wouldn't of been able to do _____ without your help." (She starts to blush, hides her head shyly and gets a big smile on her face.) "You are becoming such a wonderful young lady and are so helpful."
Emily (giggling): "What would you do without me?"
Terri: "I wouldn't be able to do anything." "I would sit in a corner and cry and cry." (Of course, we are being silly at this point).
You should of seen the smile on her face and the way her little chest puffed out. She hugged me and said, "I love you, Mama."
All it takes is a word or two. You don't have to have a long conversation, extolling all their virtues. Just point out a job well done, a kind word spoken, a gesture. Make it a habit to find the positive and say encouraging words. I don't want my children to look back on their lives and remember Mom as the one who always told them how they did it wrong. I want them to remember me as the one who encouraged them that they could do something no matter what.
My mother-in-law has done a wonderful job of this with her children. She is always encouraging, always affirming, and always telling them they can do anything! When Dan talks about his mother, it's always about the fact that she encouraged them growing up. I want my children to feel the same way about me!