Encouraging Comments any Parent would Love to Hear

“Wow, you’ve got your hands full.”

It’s a comment most parents have heard at some point or other. But, do we enjoy hearing it (again and again)? Most strangers probably don’t mean anything derogatory  by it; in fact, they are most likely heartened at the sight of lively, active children. Yet, comments like that and others like it (“they keep you busy!”) don’t really leave parents feeling encouraged. They just leave us, well, flat.

Anytime we walk past someone trying to corral their kids down the sidewalk or line up behind a family with three busy children in the grocery store, we can resonate with them. Our gut instinct tells us to help in some way, or at least to empathize. Can we offer a kind, encouraging word without falling prey to the typical “small-talk” parenting comments and without coming on too strongly?

You bet.

King Solomon understood the power of a few kind words. Proverbs 16:24 says: “gracious words are a honeycomb; sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Words can go a long way. As parents, we’re frequently told how tough our job is and how busy we must be and how tired we look. But honey is better!

Here are a few sweet comments.

“You have such a beautiful family.”

“You are doing a great job.”

“Your children are blessed to have you as their parent.”

“That was such a great way to communicate with your kids.”

“Your family is so well-behaved.”

“You’re a great role-model for your children.”

These are just a few examples. There are plenty of other helpful, encouraging, appropriate, and kind compliments to offer. And there are times when no words may be best, too (jutting in right in the middle of a discipline session wouldn’t be good timing). But parenting truly is tough, and receiving some kind words truly does wonders for our mental stamina (sweet to the soul) and physical well-being (healing to the bones).

The next time you find yourself alongside a frantic or stressed parent, know that thoughtful words may do a lot of good. Resist the urge to share a “common” parenting phrase and offer some sincere, encouraging words. They are sweet!

Perfect Parenting

Dear Parent,

How do you know if you’re getting it right? Everyone knows that parenting is tough, but no one seems to have all the answers.

We all hope that our children “turn out ok.” We hope they stay healthy, grow strong, do well in school, make wise life choices, and succeed in the work force. We want them to make friends and be liked and have fun. We want to see them gain confidence. We want them to be happy.

 

How can we make absolutely sure that our children will have the very best in life?

If some parent had found a concrete answer to that question, then the world would be full of inadvertently healthy, happy, genius, perfect children. But that’s just not the case. Life is not perfect; we are not perfect. And as beautiful and as seemingly innocent as they might be (sometimes), our children are not perfect, either.

So, unfortunately, the answer to that question is this: we cannot, in any way, make certain of a perfect life for our children. We will, of course, do our very best to make sure our kids are fed, clothed, cared for, schooled, and content. But we cannot guarantee them perfection. Life is imperfect: the result of a messed-up world.

But you know what? Jesus was perfect. Jesus is perfect. And he clothed us with perfection. When Jesus died, our imperfection (sin) died with him. And when he came back to life (take that, death!) he won for us a perfect life: a happy, satisfying, life-with-no-death, perfect life.

Life on this earth is messy. But life in heaven is absolutely perfect, and that life has been gifted to each of us, and to our precious children, by faithful Jesus.

As we parent, we can continue to do our best to provide for our children and help them thrive, knowing that the ultimate life awaits us.

Dear Parent,

Raising children is tough. It brings us joy and it brings frustration, too. Let’s keep working hard to give our very best. Jesus is faithful. Lean on Him. Perfection awaits!