Popular parenting experts assert that we shouldn't tell our kids we're proud of them. Apparantly in our desire to affirm we have "good job'd" our children left, right, and center--until the only reason they do something is to please us and receive a pat on the back.
I desperately want my little people to have their own internal motivation and to feel confident that they can do what they set out to. I don't want to cripple them with spoken words--even my positive ones.
So for years now, in moments of accomplishment large and small, I've mainly said something like "You should feel proud of yourself" or "Doesn't that give you a good feeling inside?" or "Look at you!"
And it does feel good when we make right choices, and we should feel proud of ourselves.
But what to do with those feelings of my own, when the pride in these God chose me to spend my life with rises in my throat until I can hardly bear it?
When Elijah decides to share something precious to him, when Jonathan rushes out to clear the driveway of snow so Steve can get to work, when Trishna spends hours writing and drawing and finally fills an entire book?
I get that I don't want them to be dependent on my praise in life, I do. I am starting to believe, however, that in a world of growing insensitivity and insecurity--a world often lacking in compassion or recognition--mothers and fathers are uniquely positioned to speak out and proclaim over our little ones that we see gifts in them.
That we notice. That we like what we see. That the way they've been designed is right, good, glorious.
And so I will let those feelings rise in my throat and I'll celebrate their coming out clear and strong. I will believe that, instead of crippling them, these words will strengthen the inner confidence my babes already feel inside about who God made them to be.
I will tell my kids I'm proud of them. Because I am. Because it's the truth.
Because they need to hear it.
“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.”
~ Maya Angelou