The definition of the word “affirm” is “to state as fact; assert strongly and publicly; to declare one’s support for; uphold; defend.”
What a beautiful word. When I feel affirmed, I do feel supported and I feel known. When was the last time someone you respect affirmed you in public? Did you ignore the intentionality that person took to let you know you were appreciated, or did you let it sink in and give you the extra push you needed to keep on keeping on?
When we affirm our children, they feel like they are seen and known. They believe they have the backing they need to keep heading in the direction they were headed. Telling our children that they are doing a “good job” is important, but think about how much more meaningful it is when you tell them what they have done a good job doing or what character aspects you see them growing in.
So, if it’s important to specifically affirm our children, let’s cover some examples of how we can affirm our children.
- Tell your spouse about a way you are seeing your son grow spiritually in front of that child at dinner. “Honey, I have been meaning to tell you that I’ve been seeing Carter becoming more patient with his sister. He is really maturing in this area.” Then look at your son and say, “I am really proud of you about this, son.”
- When you go to your daughter’s presentation at school, make sure you tell her something that you think stands out from her presentation or display. “I really like the way you added the pictures as examples of the points you were making in your presentation. Well done!” When our children hear in church that Jesus will say “Well done, good and faithful servant” to those who please Him, but they never hear “well done”… there is a disconnect between their actions and what pleases you (and God).
- A tricky line with teenagers is to not give them more attention for their appearance than for their character. They are so very aware of others’ appearance (and their own), but also need to hear when they look nice so they have a standard. “You may want to combine compliments in order to affirm them in multiple ways. “I like how you have been taking care of your body by eating well and starting to work out, Jaden. It shows that you care about the gift you’ve been given. You really are a handsome and thoughtful young man.”
Affirming your children comes in many forms and people respond to different kinds of affirmations, so challenge yourself to try many different ways of telling them you are proud of who they are.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
What other affirmation ideas can you share with the other parents reading this today?