Kids are funny little boogers, aren’t they? They’re fragile creatures, always absorbing life experiences like a huge, porous sponge. Their creativity is at full throttle and their imaginations are inspiring! Every single word that they hear tells them who they are. It’s true. Their worldview is largely affected by what they hear and boy, does it feel like they have big ears sometimes! They can hear EVERYTHING!!! Although this can be annoying at times, it’s also an awesome opportunity for us to be influencers in their lives.
The other day, my youngest son, Will (6 yrs) got really frustrated over a drawing that he was attempting. Truthfully, I can’t remember what it was supposed to be exactly, but he got mad, furrowed his brow (so cute!) and crumpled the paper and scribbled all over what he had drawn. He wasn’t happy with how it was turning out.
After his little tantrum, he said something like “I’m terrible at drawing!!!” and I immediately put his droopy, pouty little cheeks in my hands, looked him in the eyes and told him how talented he really was. He kind of frowned and listened, giving me the “ok dad, whatever” look. I kept going, saying things like “look at how well you drew that person!” and “wow, you colored so well and stayed in the lines!” As I continued to encourage him, he loosened up a little and I could tell he felt better about the situation…maybe even better about himself. He trusted my words.
These kinds of situations have come up many times over the years with my two sons. I’m sure you can relate as well. From sports, to school, to bad dreams, to relationships, my wife and I have had the opportunity to encourage, build up and extinguish negative situations with just our words alone. They can be powerful and confidence-building, if used correctly and lovingly.
I picture a child’s life as a little seed, needing water and nourishment to survive…eventually, with the right amount of love and attention, that seed will grow up, displaying it’s true self and purpose; to be useful and beautiful. Similar to that seed, our kids need our words to “water” them, building that firm foundation of strength, courage and confidence needed to thrive and live life to it’s fullest. To put it another way, our words can be empowering and those opportunities to empower are on OUR shoulders friends…OUR shoulders!
Honestly though, we suck at being encouraging all the time. I know I do. Mess ups are inevitable and saying the wrong thing at the wrong time just happens and life goes on. Heck, even when we do encourage or speak the truth in the right way, the guarantee of making a difference in that moment isn’t always there. BUT the consistent love and effort that we put forth EVERY SINGLE DAY is what makes the difference and solidifies character in our kids. CONSISTENCY!!!!
Our kids need us friends…especially during the younger years. They need us to tell them who they are and where they’re going. Let’s be the voices that pave the way for them.