For the preface to today’s suggestion, see the previous post. This was one more plan that came from that lunch table. I remember it well because it worked! Suffice it to say, for today, that the positive result of implementing this at our house was almost immediate. It’s called “Three in the Eyes.” Like mother-daughter time, there are rules:
- Each day, Mom, you creatively think of three characteristics you see growing in your child that are godly and will build strong character.
- Then you find three distinct times each day when you take the time to get down on eye level with your child, seriously look into her eyes and say, “Honey, I just want you to know that I love the way you_______________________. You keep doing that, and, watch out world!…You will help people go to heaven!” (or some words that are similar and suited for your situation).
- You have to make a checklist on your phone or in your planner, because you do not want to have lapses in your memory. I know it sounds regimented for family relationships, but you will start noticing a spirit softening and a new compliance if you diligently pursue this eye-to-eye encouragement every day. (At least we did.)
“Hannah, I saw how you sat there on the bench and talked with old Sister Brown today. I could see the twinkle in her eye and how happy you were making her. That made me smile on my insides. I wanted to tell the world that MY little girl cares deeply for the lonely and the old people. You always take time for people who need friends and God will give you many, many friends and you can help them all go to heaven!”
“Caleb, I watched you on the basketball court today when that boy pushed you. I watched how you reacted with all kindness and no revenge. You just kept on playing your best and, even though we didn’t win the game, you are winning in your life. I wish the ref had seen that, but, you know, God saw it. He saw how you acted when someone mistreated you and He smiles about that. I am so proud of that.”
“Hannah, I know that was a hard thing for you to share those new Barbie paper dolls with Marlie. She is not always careful with toys and I know you were afraid she would tear them and, sure enough, she did!. But what you did was very important. It made me have a few quiet moments to talk about the Bible with her mom. Won’t it be wonderful if we can get Marlie’s mom to study with Dad and me? And you are helping that to happen. This makes me very glad you are mine!”
So just do it. Don’t stop the negative discipline when negative behavior is exhibited, but sprinkle these three encouragers into every day. What have you got to lose? A few minutes a day and a maybe even a dissonance that you really have been wanting to lose!