You have heard it a million times, ” Be careful what you say. Your children are listening.” It sounds like a warning that something evil will happen if they hear what you have to say. So, how about we turn that around and say what we want them to hear. When I was at BlogHer this Summer and I heard Martha Stewart speak she brought up a moment in the movie The Help in reference to being a grandmother. During the movie a mother punished her child for doing something that she thought was bad. The maid came to console the child and she held her face and told her, ” You is kind, you is smart, you is important.” It’s something that she has been telling the little girl frequently.
When my little guy started school I was surprised at how insecure he could be. He would get so upset if he was told that he did something wrong. I tried everything to help him understand that he was a good boy and that maybe he just mad a poor choice. I told him people make mistakes, even mommy and that mistakes don’t make you bad. So every night when I tuck him into bed I look him in the eye and tell him, ” You are beautiful. You are smart. You are important. You are special.” When he’s sad he shakes his head yes at me, and tells me he’ll try to remember that. On most nights he repeats these very words to me and let’s me know that I am all those things too.
Imagine my surprise when my 6 year old asks me for a journal so he can write his feelings down like his brother. I found a blank journal that I had and I gave it to him. The other morning he brought it down the stairs and told me he hasn’t really written anything in it. When I asked if I could see what he did, he said, “Yes.” There it was in all his 6 year old chicken scratched glory, ” You are special and important and beautiful.” The picture is of the two of us together. He told me he wrote it down so he would never forget it. I hope he never does.
What you say matters, even when you think it falls on deaf ears. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone told their children how special they are? I know I feel special when he repeats it to me and that’s something I did not expect. Take a moment tonight to honor your children. Reaffirm the positive in them. Tell them they are important.