The other day Rae and I were coloring. She told me she was going to make a “big, big bear.” When she completed it, she looked at me with a big smile and said, “Mama, how did I do?”
I’m not going to lie…. My heart sank a little. I’ve always tried to make a point from infancy of encouraging Rae to be proud of her own accomplishments first and foremost. Waiting that extra beat before rushing in with praise. Or responding to things like this with a “Wow I noticed you were working really hard! What do YOU think of it?” Always trying to put the emphasis on her effort, on her pride and personal sense of accomplishment. I responded with a version of my usual, “Wow!! But how do you feel about what you drew? That’s the most important part” She responded “Good!” And together, we began pointing out all the features of her creation with big smiles.
The next day, Rae asked me to draw her a puppy in a helicopter. I made my best attempt (her requests are starting to exceed my artistic talents). I finished my drawing, looked at her with a smile and said, “How’d I do?”
And there it was.
Our children are always watching us, picking up on things they see.
How can we expect them to find empowerment, pride, and satisfaction for their efforts from within, if we don’t model that ourselves?
And truly, this goes for everything. For example, if I want Rae to know that sometimes things hurt or are hard and it’s okay to cry, I have to be willing to cry in front of her sometimes. Despite my best efforts, I wasn’t practicing what I preached.
This moment was really a wake up call for me. So tomorrow, or the next day, when your child asks you to draw something and you finish my creation, maybe you’ll remember this moment. And if you do, take a moment to proudly celebrate your effort for yourself first. Because what we do in front of our children, speaks a lot louder than what we say.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? I’d love to hear about it. Share with me in the comments!