My baby was just born 10 weeks ago, and my daughter isn't even 3, but I constantly find myself asking what I can say or do for my children to help them be grow up to be happy and successful human beings. What can I do as their mother, to guarantee they always remember they're loved? Especially once they reach those awkward teenage years where life itself seems to revolve around high school status.
They can't possibly doubt how much I love them. I mean, they're small, but I never stop telling them, and I never plan to. But will that be enough to hold their trust, and keep them on a path to happiness? Is there something I can say, maybe one sentence that will forever have impact on their life?
Turns out, I'm not the only one asking myself these types of questions. Actually, I'd be surprised if most moms at some point or another didn't ask themselves these same sort of things. Rachel Macy Stafford, also known as Hands Free Mama, has searched for similar answers.
While reading an article about what makes a good or nightmarish sports parent, Stafford honed in on this paragraph:
". . . College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame. Their overwhelming response: 'I love to watch you play.'"
Stafford called this a life-changing sentence, and in her post, describes how she's since practiced telling her children how much she loves to watch them swim, sing, play, read . . . All things she would normally over-elaborate about. She's focused on saying this simple phrase, when compelled, and she's noticed a difference with her children.
Keep reading to see what we need to tell our kids.
She writes: "When simply watching someone makes your heart feel as if it could explode right out of your chest, you really should let that person know," and that's exactly what I plan to do.
I've realized another powerful phrase makes my daughter light up. When I watch her pick up her toys without being asked, listen to her practice her letters, or see her try something new, I can't help but feel overwhelmed with pride. Not the show-off kind of pride, but the beautiful feeling of knowing she's mine. So I simply tell her "I am so proud of you."
The first time I said it, I wasn't even sure if she'd understand what that meant exactly, but the look on her face said it all. She beamed, hugged me tightly and said "thank-you mommy."
Now I'll sometimes even catch her fishing for the compliment asking "mommy are you proud of me?" Usually after she's done something she's excited about, and I tell her I am. It always elicits the same response. Gleeful smiles, giggles and hugs.
Telling my children how much I love them, how proud I am of them, and how much I love to watch them practice things they enjoy may not keep them out of harms way, or far from occasional unhappiness, but I hope expressing my true feelings for them, is a constant reminder for how much they mean to me, and just maybe, that will help shape them to be the happy and fulfilled people I dream they’ll be.
Do you simply tell your children you love to watch them do what they love? What are things you tell your children that you know they appreciate?