One time I complimented a young woman in front of her mother. I was sad when her mother quickly minimized what I said. My heart sank when I heard the mother’s clear sentiment: “Oh, that’s not so special.”
Affirmation is nourishment for the heart. I love to hear someone compliment one of our children or grandchildren. Why would I want to negate it or water it down? It’s much better for a child to see his or her mother’s joy. Hearing another person praise our children is a great time to add a compliment of our own.
Imagine a child hearing someone say, “You are such a good helper for your mama!” and then hearing her mother say, “Yes, she certainly is and she does it so cheerfully.”
That just seems better to me than, “Yes, but you should see her when she’s tired. Whew! Everybody better watch out!”
Adding another compliment to the one just given also affirms the person who gave it. We certainly don’t want to come across as implying, “Oh, you don’t know what you’re talking about. She’s not really all that great. What is wrong with your perception of reality, Lady?”
And, of course, the person receiving the compliment is affirmed: “You just received a well-deserved compliment and I want you to know that I agree whole-heartedly! Way to go! You are really special.”
Words are precious. Your children are hanging on them and they’ll keep on hanging on them for years to come. We long to hear our Heavenly Father say, “Well, done.” We long to hear our mamas and daddies say it, too.
Let’s see how many hearts we can fill with sincere, well-thought-out words of encouragement and affirmation! What a gift!
God is our example in this. At the beginning of His ministry on earth, Jesus went to John the Baptist to be baptized. God affirmed His Son by giving Him a clear loving message from Heaven: You are my Son. I love you. I am pleased with you. These are words every child wants to hear from his parents.
. . . and a voice came from the heavens:
“You are My beloved Son;
in You I am well pleased.”