The Importance of Encouraging our Children

Encouraging children

I remember several years ago having a conversation with one of my children about doing his schoolwork. He said, “Mom, I’m not smart enough to do this.”

Mentally, I took off my “Teacher” hat and put on a “Cheerleader” hat.

“Of course you are smart enough. It just takes practice and some more time. Here, why don’t you read the question to me?”

My little 7-year-old slowly sounded out the words of a question which asked about a story he just read. I noticed that some of the words were a bit challenging for him. It took him so long to figure them out that he lost track of what the question was asking.

“I just can’t do it,” he said. “I don’t know what they want. I’m not good at school.”

Well, here we were. I had hit a common spot in each of my children’s education. It seems that every year, in at least a few subjects they hit a snag and feel completely unable. That is my cue to start the cheerleading.

You see, as our children grow and develop, they face new challenges all the time. Remember when they were starting to walk? They would stand up against the couch and slowly pull their hands away, wobbling and teetering while watching you. Then they would take a step and fall. Immediately, they would look to you to see what your reaction was. Were you scared? Were you rushing to grab them? Or were you smiling and encouraging them? I quickly learned as a young mom that the scared face almost always caused them to cry, but a smile and an assuring “You’re OK” helped them to regain the confidence to try again. They were looking to me for clues about how to react. They were looking to me with those big, sweet eyes that seemed to ask me, “Now what? Is this a big deal or is it OK?”

And they look to me all the time as they grow up. Sometimes they ask for reassurance and other times they just read how I respond to get a clue as to how they should be responding. We have a powerful opportunity to speak encouragement into our children’s lives throughout their growing up years.

We need to be cheerleaders throughout their lives, because as they take the next new step and fall, they look to us for that encouragement – for that “You’re OK. I’m still smiling. You can do it!”Paperback-stack

So I began to talk with my 7-year-old about the story he just read. Then we discussed the newer words in the questions together. After that, he was able to answer them. And he felt better.

This is yet another reason moms have such an amazing job. Along with nurturing, feeding, training, referee-ing, and a whole host of other “-ings,” we have the privilege to do cheerleading. We are there to let our children know we believe in their abilities –  they can do it.

That is one of the reasons why, when the big football players are interviewed after making an amazing play, one of the first things they say is “Thanks, Mom!”

You are so much more than a person who cooks and grocery shops. You are so much more than the one who changes diapers and does the laundry. You are even more than the one who considers a field and buys it.

You are an encourager, a supporter, a cheerleader, building your children up one activity at a time so they can face the world, firm in their abilities and knowing that you are behind them!

Keep it up! You are doing an amazing job!