As I thought about her answer later, however, I felt a little better. I had asked a pointed question and had put her on the spot to answer it. Children see life in concrete, black and white terms. She was simply searching her memory for a specific reason why we might be proud of her and that trophy was the first thing that came to her mind.
But I seized the opportunity to give her a major ego boost. I quickly answered that we were very proud of her, not just because of a trophy she had won in the past, but because of who she is today. I named several specific things: she made good grades; she was sweet; she helped her mother around the house; she was pretty; she was a good helper at church.
"We are very proud of you and I want you to remember that," I repeated.
Her sparkling countenance made the whole trip worth the effort. I was glad I needed that electric box. Now she wanted to make us even more proud. It felt good to hear and she wanted more of it.
Have you heard of the man who told his wife he loved her the day he married her and said he’d let her know if he ever changed his mind? Bad idea. Wives need to hear it every single day. The same principle applies here: children need to be reminded over and again that we love them and are proud of them. Never assume they know it. True, words can lose their power with overuse, but I would rather tell my kids too much than not enough. Tell you children you love them and give specific reasons why you are proud of them. It may just make a world of difference.
The Rev. Craig Harris is pastor at Montalba Christian Church and is employed as the Parent Involvement Coordinator for Palestine Independent School District. Contact Harris at http://www.sycamoretreepublishing.com