Last Thursday an envelope with a meal gift certificate came to the office “To: Veritas Office,” From: “Veritas Families.” First, whoever sent this, THANK YOU! Yesterday we enjoyed a very nice lunch delivered to the office. Second, this thoughtful gift made we think of the value of affirmation and encouragement. This gift blessed us. It cheered us to know that someone sees the staff’s diligence and labors during these days of Covid weariness.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:21
Third, this act of kindness made me think about the importance of encouragement and blessing to our children. I once heard that the words parents speak to their children become the tapes that play in the child’s mind when they are adults. At times of accomplishment and success words of praise or words of disparagement will echo in their minds. In moments of defeat and failure, years down the road, blessings or curses will ring in their ears. Our sons and daughters will hear mom and dad speaking to them. The tape will affirm, “I love you. You did such a good job. I really appreciate what you did. Or even, What can God teach you from this disappointment?” or the tape will condemn, “You never, you can’t, you didn’t, you’re stupid, why can’t you ever . . . ? Why aren’t you like . . . ?” God gave us parents, mothers and fathers, so we would know something of what He is like as our Heavenly Father. All of us fail, sometimes miserably, to portray God’s love, wisdom, and righteousness accurately to our children, but we must be vigilant about our words to our daughters and sons. We are not only recording their tapes, but we are also shaping their conception of their heavenly Father. It is easy to fall into the trap of sappy positivity and false self-esteem building when we affirm everything about our child as the absolute best ever, ever. It is also easy to be condemning, attacking, and belittling when we correct and discipline our children. I found it helpful to remember that when I spoke to my daughter and sons that I was recording a tape (or audio file) that would play in their minds ten, twenty, even thirty years into the future. Even when they sin wretchedly, I want them to hear a gentle recording pointing them to Christ.
So, speak words of blessing and affirmation to your children. Say, “Thank you” to your children. Joyfully acknowledge their virtues, good works, and accomplishments. Discipline your sons and daughters in a way that builds them up, points them to Christ, and strengthens them for godliness.
Our children long to hear words of blessing from their parents. We all long to hear it from one another. (Yes, the praise of others can become an idol, but that is another conversation.) Our children live to hear, “Well done, good and faithful daughter . . . Well done, good and faithful son.” This is the way God made the world. Speak it to them now so that when they are older, and you are not around, they will hear your voice and long to hear it from their heavenly Father.
In the blog post I’m Proud of You Son, Sylvia Schroeder makes exactly the same point.
You’re never too old to want your dad to be proud of you,” . . . Those poignant words took me immediately to the memory of my dad. His praise had such a huge impact on me then that to this day I think of my actions and how he would respond. What he accepted then still matters to me now. His affirmation steered desires and emotions, they brought me joy and sorrow.
Both my husband’s father and mine are gone, but the ghost of their approval and disapproval is a legacy we both cherish. What a picture of the Christian’s relationship with the Father.
So, in these days of Covid weariness and political turmoil speak words of gratitude, blessing, and encouragement to your children and to one another. Have a great week.