As the old soul that I am, I love old movies. I love the idea of the simple life, and the connectedness that people seemed to have had back in the 1800s.
I watched “Little Women” tonight.
Surprisingly, my kids sat down and watched it with me. One kid at a time, sat down, snickered, mimicked, watched a few more moments, and then walked away.
My oldest son sat down during the part where Marmee, the mother, was telling a discouraged Josephine March how much she loved who she was, and praised her for all of the great things she had to offer the world. She gave her the pep talk of all pep talks, inspiring her to spread her wings and fly.
At that moment, my son looked right at me and said, “it would be nice if you’d hype me up like that sometime.”
His statement shook me. We sat in silence for a while, as I pondered his statement.
I mustered up enough courage to ask him why he felt that way.
He told me that I tend to only point out the negative, and that I can can be harsh. Sadly, he was right. I believe that in my effort to encourage him to do better, and succeed, my words have been too harsh, and my expectations too high.
Humbly, I apologized.
Then, I “hyped” him up. I told him I was proud of him, and proud of the hard worker that he is, and for keeping a job. I praised his efforts at school.
He smiled at me, in a way that I haven’t seen in far too long.
I didn’t realize how fragile his soul was, or how much he longed for me to proud of who he is.
I believe we all long for that. Acceptance, praise, and affirmation.
A wise pastor recently taught me to “affirm your children exactly the way they’re looking to be affirmed.”
I’m glad I was given the opportunity to redeem my past mistakes. I’m thankful that my son was comfortable enough to be honest with me. I have much to learn, but my mind is open.