Why I am My Children’s Number One Fan

“You have such good children!” A woman smiles at me as we come out of the church. My children smile. They glow with happiness.  And then I spoil it all by saying rather hurriedly, “They’re not always this good, you know!”

I feel uncomfortable, rather embarrassed. I want to brush off the woman’s compliment, swipe it away as quickly as possible. And then I notice I’ve also swiped the smiles off my children’s faces. I have not only rejected the kind words, I’ve turned them around and used them against the people I love the most.
I can understand the need to be humble. None of us wants to look like we think we’ve got it all worked out, that we’re perfect. Compliments are hard to accept. We may feel we don’t deserve them. But is it my right to brush away a compliment directed at my children?
I am not my children.
I could justify diverting the words of praise. I might think they could make my children proud. I wouldn’t want them to feel they were something special, would I? I want their feet planted firmly on the ground. Anyway, they need to know they still have a lot of work to do. How else will they be motivated to strive for virtue?
I know really this is a whole lot of nonsense. Criticism doesn’t result in children trying harder. Well it might at first. But eventually children just give up:  “I’ll never be good enough.” But when we praise and encourage and love, children grow and grow.
I wonder how my kids feel when I deny they’re clever, beautiful, funny, helpful, sweet… when I downplay any praise? Then I wonder how I would feel if my husband denied I was a good wife.
My husband is my greatest supporter. And that’s what I need to be for my children. I need to be their number one fan.
“You have such good children!”
“Thank you!” I reply. “I’m very blessed to have them.”
My children smile. They glow with happiness.
Posted in a hurry as the bushfire approaches (see my other blog), so I hope this makes sense. Must go and prepare for evacuation.
Tags:

Related Posts

Previous Post Next Post

Comments

  1. Reply

    Very wise! I must remember this.

    Stay Safe Elvis family – am praying for you and your home. xxxx

    1. Reply

      Lisa,

      I appreciate your prayers very much. Thank you! I'm posting bushfire updates on my FB page as you know. If I get a chance and have more info, I'll post another in the morning.

      God bless and thank you!

  2. Reply

    It's a lovely post and makes perfect sense. I hope you all stay safe and protected, God bless.

    1. Reply

      Kelly,

      Glad to hear it made some sense! I'm rather distracted at the moment because of the bushfires. Have been for a couple of days now. Thought I'd write a post to keep my mind off the fires and then just as I finished it, we had a warning to be prepared to leave our village. But we are still here. We'll make sure we make the right decisions in order to keep safe. Thank you for your concern!

    • Hwee
    • October 19, 2013
    Reply

    Oh my goodness, you've just written about a very similar experience of mine. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I'll have to work on being better at accepting compliments about my son. Hope all of you stay safe!

    1. Reply

      Hwee,

      Compliments are difficult to deal with. It seems we all feel a bit uncomfortable when our children are praised. Thank you so much for reading my story and stopping to say hello again. I appreciate that! And thank you for your words about keeping safe. We are being looked after by some very courageous men and women firefighters!

  3. Reply

    me too! i have recently realized this and am trying to stop. i do say we are blessed, but then usually ruin it. i have to just cut it off after that. praying that we all will be our family's biggest fan.

    1. Reply

      Missy,

      I was thinking… if our kids can't rely on their mother to be their supporter, who can they rely on? The world can be such a negative place. We don't need to give them the opinion they are perfect and better than anyone else, but maybe we need to encourage them and be prepared to support a compliment. Usually they deserve the kind words!

      "we all will be our family's biggest fan." I think we all have wonderful children. No family is better than another. Our children do need to know that they're special in their own family though. And by complimenting each other's children we encourage each other too.

      Just a few more thoughts I was mulling over. Again, I'm a bit distracted. Half my mind is on the noise of the water bombing helicopters that keep passing overhead. Rather strange sitting here using the computer as if it's an ordinary day!

      So lovely to chat!

    • Eva
    • October 20, 2013
    Reply

    We hear similar sentences when we go shopping or are in church. My husband always says, "We just fooled you," which always embarrasses me. I have learned to simply say "thank-you," but I never feel comfortable for doing so. After all, I know we are having our share of problems. Sometimes I add that we are still a work in progress, which somehow is not as harsh as some other remarks I could make. I guess it depends on the person what I say. If it's an old lady or gentleman I don't want to ruin there happiness, because they are genuinely happy about our children, but if it is another mother who might think she could never reach that kind of ideal I like to stress that there are still many areas we need to work at.

    1. Reply

      Eva,

      You are so right: Other mothers might feel discouraged if we don't admit we have problems too. It's a tricky situation. I suppose it depends on who's doing the complimenting. If a mother is comparing her children to ours, then it's more tricky than if it's just an older woman at Mass admiring our children, for example. I wonder if we could include others in the compliment… not deny it or reduce it in any way, but share it with the giver, include their children if it's appropriate. Or find something else to compliment. All children are beautiful. It usually doesn't take much to think of something positive to say about them.

      Sometimes younger women compliment my children. That's just because I am further along the track than them. If they start comparing I tell them how easy I have it now my kids are bigger, and how well they're doing… and how beautiful their little ones are!

      I also think compliments can be a way of encouraging mothers. And if we accept them others can accept them in their turn.

      And we can always share our problems when our children are out of earshot.

      Maybe there's a way of supporting our own children while encouraging others. I don't know. Now you have me thinking!

    2. Reply

      Eva,

      You are a good friend being so considerate of other people's feelings. Yes, we wouldn't want to give others the impression we think our children are perfect. None of us are.

      Maybe there is a problem in the way we offer compliments. If they are genuine we should expect them to be accepted with thanks. If they are only said in order to compare children then there is a problem. These aren't really freely given compliments. Yes, these people could be sad or envious. Maybe we need to find a way to encourage these people without hurting our own children in the process. Some encouraging words perhaps? Or some empathy if we sense there's something wrong.

      "You have such good children!" Big sigh!

      "You sound like you're having a difficult time at the moment. Would you like to talk?"

      Communicating with others is difficult at times!

      • Eva
      • October 27, 2013
      Reply

      As long as the other person doesn't think we are unduly proud of our children, I think we can acknowledge that we are happy about how they have turned out. Only when you can sense some kind of envy or sadness in the other person I think you have to be careful about how you respond to compliments.

    3. Reply

      Eva,

      You are so lovely returning to continue the conversation. Thank you!

      • Eva
      • November 16, 2013
      Reply

      Wise words and so true! Sometimes you think you are saying something helpful and it backfires.

      • Eva
      • November 16, 2013
      Reply

      You are welcome.

  4. Reply

    I knew a woman who had been a teacher and was tired of parents thinking their children were exceptional. I think she saw it as the kids being spoiled and the parents being blind to their child's defects.

    At any rate, she decided that when she had children she would not treat them as exceptional. She actually was unable to conceive, but adopted twice, and she really did make sure her kids knew they weren't "special," even when they did well. She wanted to be sure they weren't proud or spoiled.

    At the time, I just found it heartbreaking! But this post really crystallizes what's so wrong with that (well-meaning) approach. If we aren't our kids biggest supporter, who will be? If we don't see what is so special and exceptional and good in our children, who will?

    It seems to me that the ultimate life preparation for our kids is the loving relationship with family, yes, but as an expression of God's love and delight in them.

    1. Reply

      Wendy,

      It seems to me that the ultimate life preparation for our kids is the loving relationship with family, yes, but as an expression of God's love and delight in them. I like that very much!

      I don't think we have to give our children the impression they are perfect. But we do need to love them so very much. They are special. We all are. How will they believe God loves them without limit and delights in them if we don't do that first? You have expressed that so perfectly!

      I've been thinking about the delight we all have for babies and little children. Somewhere along the way it disappears. I've been wondering why. Why is it ok to delight in our children when they are young and not when they're older? I often tell Gemma-Rose she's beautiful and then I ask her who made her that way. She replies, "God!" To see God in our children… I am trying to find the words to express my thoughts but shall have to think about this some more!

      Thank you so much for your comment. God bless!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

0 shares
%d bloggers like this: