After a time of worship where my wife led one of the songs, an older woman approached me. “Jana did such a wonderful job leading that song. I was really blessed by it.” That was great but then she added, “Oh, don’t tell her that though. I wouldn’t want her to get a big head about it.”
I responded, “I’m going to tell her and it would be even better if you would tell her, too. Most of us need all the encouragement we can get.”
We hear a lot today about how kids are coddled and given trophies and praised to high heaven just for breathing. While standing against such ridiculousness we need to make sure we don’t go to the opposite extreme and adopt this lady’s concern about them getting a “big head”. Because, as I told her, most of us need all the encouragement we can get.
Here are 3 tips on how to make your encouragement helpful and meaningful.
- Praise specific accomplishments.
This lady did great by stating specifically what she thought Jana did well and the result – it blessed her.
Bobby may have struck out but did he have a good stance? Did he stay close to the base instead of backing away from the ball? Find something that he did well and encourage him specifically for that.
- Praise and recognize their effort – not just their existence.
Life doesn’t give trophies for consuming oxygen so we shouldn’t set that expectation in our kids. But life does have a way of rewarding the one that keeps trying and giving it all they have, so we can do that to.
- Don’t compare your child’s accomplishments to other’s.
Praise them for doing their best. Praise them for putting forth their best effort.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “All you can do is all you can do.” That’s true but not necessarily encouraging. However, I once saw a bumper sticker I absolutely loved. In big letters it proclaimed, ”All you can do is all you can do” but right below that it said, “And it’s enough”. We need to assure our kids that if they gave it their best, then that’s enough – they are a winner.
Maybe you need to hear that, too. It seems parenting is never done and I almost always wondered if I was doing OK. Did I handle that situation right? Was I too harsh, too lenient, jump to the wrong conclusion, respond in a way that showed them God through me?
Hey parent, all you can do is all you can do.
And it’s enough.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11