Last night I watched a local production of Disney’s High School Musical in our town’s high school auditorium. My 11-year old daughter had a part in the production. I couldn’t take my eyes off her the entire time she was on stage. She was amazing. I was gushing with pride and I couldn’t wait to tell her.
Several years ago I was at a Christmas program with my girls when I saw something very discouraging. In the hallway, a father was lecturing his son. This wasn’t any ordinary lecture. From the vantage point the kid hadn’t done anything wrong, mis-behaved in any way, or embarrassed the father. You know what he had done? Missed a cue on stage. He came out late for his part. He stepped out of sync with the others. I couldn’t believe what I was watching.
What I felt like doing was interrupting and asking the father if this were Lion King on Broadway, and whether or not we were standing in the Minskoff Theater in Times Square? But I didn’t do that. I never do that. I’m the type of person who spends a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to say, or would like to say, but never actually saying it!
It was hard to watch that happen a few years back. The reason is that I have always been an encourager. From the time I was a young kid, around the age of 10 or so, I have encouraged people. It never stopped through my years of becoming a teenager, through college, or now. Even if something was an absolute disaster- a song was out of key, or there was an awkward moment on stage where the music didn’t start, or someone forgot their line, I want to encourage.
I’m not elevating myself, but if that would have been my kid, I would have encouraged him. I would have told him how proud I was of him. So what if he missed a cue (in a children’s program mind you!). So what if something didn’t go as planned! He was trying. This might sound harsh but shame on that father for missing an opportunity. Instead of giving encouragement he lectured. Instead of building up and pouring into the child with kind words, he attempted to teach or direct him.
I am proud of you are words that are not spoken enough in our world, especially to our children. I’m a guilty party here as well. It makes sense why they aren’t. Most of us adults work and live in a professional world. Many of us are in jobs based on performance where we do not have a supervisor or boss looking at our work and giving an atta-boy or atta-girl. They care only that a deadline is met and the product or project was spot on. I get that. Fortunately I am not in a work environment like that. But many are. And it’s hard to not translate that to home life.
It’s hard to not drag that drive to succeed and perform into the garage with you at the end of a work day. I get it because I am a driven person. I love results. I want to see ideas or strategies implemented and I get frustrated quick when that doesn’t happen or it takes too long. But my children are…children. They see the world through the wisdom of Spongebob Squarepants and Barbie’s Fairytopia. They make crucial decisions based on what Ironman would do or how Batman would respond.
Perhaps the reason there are so many dreams aborted by the time a kid graduates from college has something to do with the absence of those 5 simple words- I am proud of you? Maybe there would be more world-shapers, big dreamers, and hardcore doers if they heard these words more frequently? There are 4 fingers pointing back at me as I type that :-(!
Last night I was gushing with pride. I couldn’t wait to tell her. She rocked too. I’m talking up on a lunchroom table, during one of the all-company numbers, guitar in hand, doing her best Taylor Swift impression (being a fellow “Swifty” I loved that part!). We decorated her with roses when the performance was over. She did a fantastic job. So did the whole cast. They deserved tons of atta-boys and atta-girls. The words I am proud of you, were warranted. Even if there were miscues, they would have been warranted. The reason? They’re children. They need to hear these 5 words from their parents!
Question: Do you have trouble with these 5 words? What needs to change? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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