Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How To Make A Parent's Day

Hadley and I just got back from a nice long walk. As we were coming up the alley, a little curly headed girl of about 3 came running out of her garage. "A puppy!" she squealed.

Hadley can be a bit jumpy still, but I held her in a sit and invited the little girl to pet her. Then I asked her if she could follow directions.

She nodded.

I asked her if she wanted to give Hadley a treat. More squeals of delight. First, I told her she had to know how to do it. I showed her how to hold her hand flat with the treat on it so Hadley could just take it off. (Dogs can sometimes accidentally nip if you just use your fingers instead of your palm.)

She held out her hand and Hadley took the treat. Again, squeals of delight. "She likes me!"

I agreed that she did. Then I said, "You did such a great job following directions! That was super!"

She beamed. But I'm not sure whose smile was brighter -- hers or her father's.

Recognizing something a child does well to a parent seems to encourage them as much as the child. It sends the message to the parent, that in the tough world of parenting, they might be doing something right.

So, at Barnes and Noble when kids are behaving well, I tell them what a nice job they are doing and even give them a sticker.

When I'm in the grocery store, I might say something about what a good helper the little boy is doing.

When I see a child help another, I let the mom know.

I don't have kids, but I recognize that parenting has got to be stuff. A little praise might encourage a weary mom or dad that they are getting something right.



Heather said...

Oh, so true. When someone compliments one of my kids, or recognizes something they do right, I am truly blessed.

It is hard, and there are days with melt downs (both on their parts and their mothers) and yelling, and fighting where you think there is no way you are gonna take them out in public until they are at least 20.
When I hear those positive things, it's like I am being given the compliment rather than them.

Thanks for the story, and for noticing those things. It's a blessing for sure.

Elaine said...

That is soooo nice to hear!! Most of the time I get "looks" and it makes me feel so horrible, even worse since I tend to feel like every little whine and cry they go on about somehow resembles my bad parenting! But Thank you for doing what you are doing! You don't know how much I wish people looked up to parents and not down on them. It's a hard life to learn how to live in it and especially God's way! Again, Thank you from one mom.

Anonymous said...

This is truly the truth. I get a big kick out of receiving compliments on my daughter and I love giving them to other parents as I know it uplifts them.

Kim said...

What a cool way of living out the "Orange" strategy as a person who doesn't have kids! I think it encourages God's heart when we encourage one another, and when we choose to speak words of life instead of judgment. Way to be!