As I was running the other morning, I jogged past a mom who was shepherding her little ones out the front door and over to the school bus stop. The mother was a few steps behind her young daughter and I caught this snippet of conversation:
Mom: You have a spelling test today, Susan. I don’t know where your words are.
Susan: I know them, Mom.
Mom: You sure?
I was stunned; this mother had had the chance to build her daughter up by responding, “That’s great, Susan! I’m so proud of you.” Instead, she told Susan that, not only was her word not to be trusted but that her ability to actually learn her spelling words was in doubt. With those double blows to her ego, it was no wonder that Susan had no answer to her mom’s question.
You can spoil a child with too many material things but you cannot spoil a child with too much love. Legitimate praise for a job well done, legitimate recognition for honest effort, is always in order. Imagine how good it feels to have someone tell you that they believe in you, that they believe you did something well. Give the gift of that feeling to your children as often as you can. Be your kids’ biggest cheerleader. I know you can and I know that you will be great at it.