| Freeze Frame |

The Spark I See in You

I’m overwhelmed by the weight of my words and actions, by how deeply I can impact my children’s self-worth
What this means

As parents, much of our children’s self-perception lies in our hands. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the weight of my words and actions, by how deeply I can impact my children’s self-worth.

Empowered by my role in shaping their sense of self, I experimented with the reality I create for them through my words. I realized that instead of flippantly declaring what I see in them, and allowing that to become their limited self-perception, I can use language to paint a picture colored by hope, and watch my children internalize those words until they actually become reality.

To do

Think of a strength or attribute you believe would be good for your child to have. Tell your child that you see this strength in him and find examples to prove it. Take a picture of a time when this skill or strength is displayed, or even snap a picture of your child looking in the mirror (I find this makes for a powerful image). Write your “shaping words” in a narrative to solidify them as a reality.

My goal is to be honest with my children about who they are. But I’ve seen magic happen when I describe a trait they hadn’t thought they had and then watch them rise to personify that description. While it’s easy to treat them in the way we naturally view them, it’s far more rewarding to search for the spark of possibility within them, to coax it out, to help it grow.

  • “From day one, I knew you were sensitive and deeply emotional. There have been times I worried about you and how you’d cope with all life demands of a little boy, and eventually a big boy and a man....

“But you know what? I’ve noticed recently how very strong you really are. How well you deal with frustration and how calm you stay even when something goes wrong or someone hurts your feelings. I’m excited to watch this inner strength develop, this calmness and contentment that will keep you steady throughout your life.”


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 757)

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