Author Toni Morrison once posed the question, “When your child walks in the room, does your face light up?”
I was not yet a parent when I first considered this question, but it stuck with me. It stuck with me that others can tell how we feel about them by the way we look at them.
She continued, “When my children used to walk in the room, when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up. You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face. But if you let your face speak what’s in your heart…because when they walked in the room, I was glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see.”
I find myself remembering these words in the early hours of dawn, when fuzzy heads stumble from their rooms and greet me. I find myself considering these words when I’m tired at the end of a long day, when I just wanted to finish the dishes before he scooted the chair to the sink, and when I had hopes of staining the whole deck before the school bus rolled up.
I’ve been considering how to encourage the little people in my life, and I’ve been working on a list of practical ways to build them up. This week’s post is for anyone who has influence in the lives of children, and I hope it offers fresh insight. Here are 26 practical ways to encourage the kids in your life:
- Listen with full focus.
- Leave notes by their beds.
- Affirm effort over fixed attributes.
- Remind them that hurt people hurt people.
- Show up at their events.
- Remind them that their mistakes don’t define them.
- Model humility.
- Don’t hold grudges.
- Tell them why you love them.
- Set aside time just for them.
- Go on dates.
- Cook special meals you know they’ll love.
- Make their beds one day a week.
- List all the things you love about them, and then share the list with them.
- Write notes on napkins.
- Laugh at their jokes.
- Pause in the midst of a task to closely examine their artwork.
- Review the enormous stack of school work with them.
- Tell them you believe in them.
- Tell them you’ll be there for them.
- Go on adventures together.
- Apologize when you blow it.
- Ask for their opinions.
- Help them when they’re stuck.
- Speak words that bring life.
- Make room on the couch.
If this post resonates with you, you might want to check out the link below. By clicking on it, you’ll sign up to receive a list of questions every child needs to hear from the adults who love him. And no need to worry, you will receive only one email. Blessings, friends!