I bet you didn’t that today is National Day of Encouragement. This day is dedicated to uplifting people around us and making a positive impact.
If you already subscribe to our weekly newsletter, you know that last weekend, I moved my eldest son to college. I’ve been trying to navigate this past week with difficulty, if I am to be honest.
This morning, I was really missing my boy. As I was daydreaming out the window thinking about him, here is what I know as truth when raising kids…
And it has everything to do with National Day of Encouragement:
- Tell your kids that you believe in their dreams.
- That they can be brave- you KNOW they can be brave.
- That dreams are made of hard work, and big heart. That big heart and actually caring are more important than talent.
- That they are capable of doing hard things.
- That trying and failing is always better than being stuck and never even starting.
- That you love them no matter what.
- That they can come to you no matter what.
- Actually TELL them that you love them.
- Tell them you love them EVERY SINGLE DAY. Back it up with hugs and love and affection. EVERY SINGLE DAY.
- Apologize when you’ve hurt them. Admit when you’re wrong. How will they understand these concepts if they’re never modeled?
- Negotiate the rules- it’s not, “Because I say so.” It should be, “Okay, tell me what you need, and let’s see if we can come to a fair agreement.”
- Talk to them about money. The concept of spending, saving (and giving).
- Tell them cliques really suck. That they should try and have friends in all different circles- the world is made up of different people. Your friend group shouldn’t be so homogeneous.
- Tell them it’s cool to go places alone. Let them get comfortable in their skin being alone. This breeds independence.
- Instead of FOMO – teach them JOMO – the joy of missing out. They don’t have to be invited to every party. They need one to two good caring friends. The rest is gravy.
- Natural consequences are the only way to learn. You can try and save the day for them for years, but you’ll only cripple them in the long term. We do this out of sheer love and protection, but they should know and feel the consequences of their actions (without having mommy clean it up every time). This is different than loving them unconditionally. What does this all mean? It means to learn the difference between supporting them, and rescuing them.
- Don’t criticize them in public.
- Don’t criticize them ever. You’ll kill their self-esteem. Instead ask them WHY they chose to do that. Talk to them about it. Guide them down the path to good morals and values through dialogue.
- Remember, your encouragement breeds confidence. Your making fun of them makes them timid.
- If they’re old enough to play, they’re old enough to pack their own hockey bag (okay that one’s for me). But you get the idea.
- Talk to them about sex and drugs. Doing so DOES NOT MAKE THEM DO IT EARLY. They should learn this stuff from you, not from friends or porn on the web. I don’t care how uncomfortable it is— do it. It doesn’t have to be a whole 90 minute speech either. Break it up into little moments. They’re listening even if they’re cringing.
Again, tell them that you love them, that you respect them and that they can be brave. That they’ve got this.
And how to encourage YOURSELF:
- The way to start anything new is by simply showing up. Sometimes, what comes after showing up is pretty lame… but that’s okay, Showing up is the first step to starting anything good and new.
- Realize that not everyone likes you, and not everyone is happy for your success. And that’s cool – you do you, boo! Waiting for external validation or encouragement to get moving is a recipe for stuckness – you must be your own cheerleader, and that is not a bad thing. I promise.
- I don’t know who wrote this quote, but damn, it’s good. “In a world designed to profit from your self doubt, the greatest act of rebellion is loving yourself.” You can’t get motivated to manifest your highest self if you don’t love yourself. You just cannot. Practice self-compassion when you fall, give yourself grace and work on building your self-esteem and resilience muscle everyday.
Again just like for your kids above, tell yourself that you love yourself, that you respect yourself and that you can be brave. That you’ve got this.
Happy National Day of Encouragement.