When my son walked in the door on the last day of school he immediately pulled out his yearbook to show me what one of his fifth grade teachers had written. All year she has praised him for his journal writing and commented on how many journals he filled. He never was without a story to tell, which even surprised me, as a writer, knowing there are just some days that I’ve got nothing!
All year he has said this is what he wants to be when he grows up (after his professional baseball career ends, of course 🙂 ) But, it wasn’t until the next morning when she texted me that I realized the extent to which the power of her encouraging words have impacted him.
“YOU ARE THE REASON I WANT TO BE A SPORTS WRITER!”
Of course! She is the one who has fostered this dream! Her encouragement has given him the confidence to believe he is a good writer and just having that belief is enough to motivate him to keep writing and to not be afraid to put his thoughts down. What a gift that is to him whether becoming a sports writer is ultimately what he pursues or not!
Simple words of encouragement can change our kids (and anyone else), just as simply as negative feedback changes them too. Our words are either a gift or a curse, but too often we forget to consider the real power of our words. Too often we only see what needs correction or change and neglect to give the life-giving words of praise.
I am so guilty of this. I see it in the faces of my kids when the first words out of my mouth communicate they have fallen short of my expectations. Just as I see the satisfying smile when they know I am proud of them.
The truth is my love is not tied to their performance and neither is God’s. But I see how they could think otherwise.
By God’s grace I will speak more words of encouragement and affirmation instead of words that sink them into thinking they are not good enough and stifle their self-assurance. Words like-
- “You look beautiful!” instead of “Is that what you’re wearing?”
- “You make me laugh!” instead of “I’m trying to do something and you are so loud.”
- “I’m proud of you for working so hard” instead of “Why didn’t you get an A?”
- “You are so thoughtful!” when they treat their siblings special or help around the house instead of just remarking on where they fail.
- Thank you for being so patient when I was not.
- I love how compassionate you are toward those who are hurting.
- I love how your eyes light up when you smile.
- I love that you aren’t afraid to try something new.
- I love that you acted as your “brother’s keeper!”
- I love you!
Words that breathe confidence and life. Words we should also be speaking to our spouses, friends, neighbors, kids’ teachers, pastor, the woman checking us out at the grocery store, the man in line next to us at the post office and the young mom with the crying baby on the plane.
You get the point – we all need to be encouraged and we all have the ability through our words to bring light and encouragement. So, thank you to my teacher/friend who reminded me of the power of words by the way she communicated to my son that he is a great writer. Perhaps someday you really will see him on ESPN 🙂 !
Don’t want to miss a post? Interested in receiving my future monthly newsletter? Enter your email to sign up in the top right-hand box! For an additional post on the power of words, you can read: Hurtful Words or Sticks and Stones?