Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Accentuate the Positive

 Welcome to this week's

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.  ~ Ephesians 4:29
Do you have nicknames for your kids?  I don't mean just a shortened version of their name, i.e. Max instead of Maxwell.  I mean a fun little name that you made up just for your kiddo.

When my daughter was a toddler, we began calling her "Princess."  Being the only girl out of our four kids, she really did get treated like a princess, too!

Unfortunately, she began to think of herself as a princess.  For nearly a year, she would wear nothing other than her "fancy" church dresses, because "that's what a princess wears!" 

Yesterday I wrote about how impacting our words can be on our spouses.  Today I want to look at how they effect our children.

Not necessarily the words we say TO our kids -- although those are desperately important, too -- but more so the words we use to talk ABOUT our kids.  Because the things we tell other people about our children will often either shape our own opinion of our kids or be a reflection of the opinion we already have.  Not to mention how we're shaping our listener's opinion of our kids!

I like to brag about my kids, to tell people how smart they are, and how cute and funny they can be.  But I also find myself telling people about the rotten things they've done.  Especially when I've had a particularly bad round with them.

In fact, I sometimes wonder if people know that I really DO enjoy my kids!

I remember reading in a marriage book once how important it is to build your spouse up to other people.  Speaking highly of them to others, whether your spouse is there to hear it or not, encourages others to see your spouse's good qualities and reinforces to your spouse the fact that you love and value them.

The same concept applies to our kids.

The more we tell other people how rotten our kids have been, the more we're going to see them as bad kids, which spills over into our interactions with them.  And just like Emma learned she was a princess because of what we called her and how we treated her, our kids will quickly catch on to the fact that we think they're more bad than good.

Kids will be kids; they're going to do some rotten things.  They're going to make some really bad mistakes.  That's all part of learning.  Sure, we have to teach them how to make GOOD choices.  We have to do our part as parents to shape them into Godly individuals.  But let's build their self-esteem along the way so that they understand how valued they are not only to us, but to their Heavenly Father as well.

It starts with us asking and allowing God to change how we think about our kids (Romans 12:2) and allowing that to spill over into the way we talk about them.  It's going to require a conscious effort on our part.  In the middle of that discussion when you really want to tell your friend or your mom what awful thing your kiddo has done, you have to CHOOSE to swallow those words.  Choose instead to share something you appreciate about your kids.  Focus on the good things he or she has done!

I've even chosen sometimes not to relay to my husband at the end of the day all the mishaps I've had at home with my kids.  Especially if I've already disciplined them!  To recount all the dark deeds of the day only serves to make my husband grumpy toward the kids and to make them feel awful all over again.

Today I'm going to do like the old Johnny Mercer song says and "Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative."  People need to know that I think the world of my kids.  My KIDS need to know I that I think they're amazing.

Because they are. 

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