Find Those Sparks
Today I want to encourage you to find those sparks in young people. Sparks represent the goodness that is inside them. It is their gifts, their particular way of thinking, or their caring attitude, maybe it is just how they think. When you notice them in your kids or others’ kids, make a positive remark. You can say something like, “That is a real gift that you have, I hope that you will use it often with others.” Just by saying something simple like that you connect with them in such a way that says, “You are great, you have good ideas, you have something to offer the world.” In my conversations with kids over the many years as an educator, believe it or not, many kids feel they have nothing to offer anyone or anything. I remember feeling that way at times as well when I was younger. When kids look at our successes, our place in life, it is easy for them to get discouraged and think, “I’ll never live like that.”
I remember having a conversation with my oldest step-son one day in our kitchen. He was struggling with school truancy and I was trying to encourage him to do his best, to present his best self everyday. His best self was so very good, but he just didn’t see it. When I said to him, “You can easily live in a house like this.” His response was, “I’ll never live in a house like this.” I was so surprised because in so many ways he already had a great start towards living at a high standard, but he just didn’t see it. So often kids don’t see it, they just can’t believe that it could possible work out.
As parents, when we are supportive of our kids by attending their events, sports, music, drama and clubs they are members of, we give them encouragement for their sparks, their interests. Maybe they just do something nice to someone, recognize it and offer that you thought that was a particularly nice gesture. Those recognition and encouragements go a long ways to starting future conversations and help to build young people’s self esteem.
Yours for Better Parenting,