As I was scrolling through FaceBook, checking out my friends’ updates and photos (yes, this certainly takes up a lot of my down time…ugh), I came across an article called “5 Phrases That Can Change your Child’s Life”. My initial reaction was to roll my eyes skeptically – if only it were that simple! However, since I was in the waiting room of a doctor’s office (enjoying some quiet time alone!) I decided to read it. I was pleasantly surprised, as these are messages I try to give my own children, as well as our students. Here is the summary, with my own comments:
1) “I still believe in you.” We all make mistakes, and that is ok. We do not have to like, or condone, everything our children do, but they need to know that we do still believe in them.
2) “You don’t have to have it all figured out right now.” This is a hard one for me, because I do like to fix problems. Truth? I might like to, but I am not able to fix them all. It is okay for our children to let go.
3) “I noticed something special about you.” This is applicable to our children, but also to our colleagues, our family members, our friends. When somebody notices something and comments on it, it makes doing it that much more worthwhile. My father told my daughter that she gave really good hugs…and yup, you guessed it – these two never start or end a visit without a super long hug!
4) “Thank you for trusting me with this.” My son often shares stories with me that seem neverending, sometimes lulling me to sleep. I make sure I (at least) act interested because I want him to know that he can tell me anything. As he has entered teenage-dom, this is something I want him to remember – to trust me! If I do not listen when he tells me about his new video game, at some point, he may stop confiding in me about more important things in his life.
5) “You can always come home.” Not unlike #4, the safest place is home. Home should be an environment free of judgment and fear. Make a mistake? We still love you. Need our support? Here we are! Want dinner and a hug? Come on over. Let’s keep that door, and our arms, open.
While this was written for parents, it is appropriate for educators, too! The classroom should be a safe, non-judgmental space. The teachers love your children and will welcome them “home” with open arms!