Earlier this week, my firstborn started pre-school (i.e. Mommy is the teacher this year who will not only stand in our too-small living room while wearing yogurt-stained yoga pants and sporting crazy bun-hair, but she will also be attempting to juggle a spiral-bound curriculum and an open Pinterest tab).
Because Mommy’s just too cheap to pay for pre-school and a WHOLE LOT, not-ready to let go.
I AM A CHEAP SAP. I repeat. I AM A CHEAP SAP.
There. I said it.
In order to document this momentous milestone (yes, it is a GINORMOUS milestone when you can look back and celebrate that you, your child, and your marriage all survived the teething, the potty training, the testy two’s, the cranky three’s, and everything else that’s in between birth and schooling), I grabbed our handy-dandy, very-dusty camcorder and recorded a little interview with my firstborn.
Ya know? The kind of recording that you dig out on a cloudy day when you love (but don’t really like) your moody, teenage son?
Ya know? The kind of recording that you bust out when your son brings home his college sweetheart?
Ya know? The kind of recording that I’ll be watching on the eve of his wedding with a bag of Doritos, a box of Kleenex, and a puddle of nostalgic tears?
Yea, it was that kind of recording.
Without any practice or preemptive warning, I spontaneously asked my boy all kinds of questions.
How old are you? What’s your address? What do your parents do? What foods do you like? What makes you happy? What makes you sad? Who are your friends? Who is Jesus?
His answers were sincere, hilarious, and epic. Oh, and I made it through the entire interview without crying. Well, until question 12.
Standing behind the camera, I asked, “Caden, what is something that you do well?”
Without any hesitation, he said, “Well, I’m good at doing brave things.”
I. WAS. SHOCKED.
My son?? Our son???
The one that is often-timid and usually-fearful????
The one that is ever-cautious and most-definitely hesitant?????
Good at doing brave things?!?!
Surely, he heard me wrong.
But then I stopped and thought about it. And when I stopped and thought about it, tears filled my eyes.
Our son answered with what he has heard.
Not with how he feels and not with what he fears, but with what he often hears.
My heart immediately warmed.
Because we know our child.
And because we know our child, we are able to speak Truth to his fears, lovingly challenge his weak spots, and wisely shepherd those areas where life is needed.
“Good job, buddy! I know that swimming isn’t easy for you…you’re really brave!”
“Guess what, Daddy? Caden was really brave today!”
“I know it’s not comfortable for you to go to a new class, but we know you can do brave things.”
“Wow! That was super brave of you!”
He has heard it a lot because he has needed it a lot.
WHAT a privileged responsibility we have as
parents people to be the mouths of encouragement!
Sure, it’s easy to note the weak spots and identify the fears. And sure, it’s easy to be critical of the need-to-improve areas and the not-yet-bloomed places. But what would happen if we spent more time focusing on the times when our
children people did the HARD things WELL, rather than noting the times when they struggled in the hard?
I imagine that good things would happen.
Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24
And though I’m not sure that we will ever know the power or the extent of our encouraging words, I do believe that people DO RESPOND with what they DO HEAR.
In short, people react to the honey.