You’ll send several messages today, whether you intend to or not. These simple messages can make a big difference to kids! Will your words help them become who God has made them to be? Today I want to share with you seven sets of words that can really affirm, and build up a child.
I Believe In You! Every child needs to feel accepted and valued. When an adult believes in a child the child begins to believe in himself. Children are constantly wondering about themselves, their self-perception. Your words can tip the scales in that internal battle.
Look for ways to share that you believe in a child. Be on the look out for what is happening that’s worth noticing. Encourage a child’s strength. Remember, a child will be more likely to trust that God believes in her when she feels confident in your belief first!
You Can Count on Me! Kids long for someone to rely on because life offers plenty of opportunities for disappointment. They often feel unsteady and desperately want to grab hold of a reliable hand. You can help instill confidence and stability into children in your life when they believe they can count on you.
Kids want to know you care, that you’ll be present, that you support them, that you understand, and that you’ll keep your commitments. When trusted adults demonstrate reliability, the leap to trusting God becomes an easier step for kids to make.
I Treasure You! Kids long to feel special. So many things in their lies are constantly quantified. Kids need to know they’re treasured solely because they’re worth treasuring. There is a difference between congratulations and treasuring. If you just congratulate, a child may be encouraged to constantly compare himself to other kids to see if he’s done enough to warrant notice. Develop ways you can communicate "I treasure you" to the kids in your life.
Know that when a child feels cherished by a significant adult the leap to believing that he or she is a treasured child of God becomes much shorter.
I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me! A child develops the ability to authentically apologize when she knows how it feels to receive an apology. The lesson here has to do with respect. Not only kids respecting adults, but adults respecting kids. One of my favorite sayings is, "Kids have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them!" Be quick to offer an apology.
Because! The difference between a child just hearing your voice and actually believing what you say depends on whether or not you provide an authentic rationale. The word, "because" when used effectively offers you a unique opportunity to make your messages powerful. The word "because" acts as a handle to help a child hang on to your words. Begin your counsel with truth and then include an expanded reason, because.
No! If we want kids to be able to say "no" to some of the things life throw their way, we better let them learn to hear it occasionally. Children need someone older and wiser, someone with a better vantage point to help them navigate through life. Regardless of what we’d like to believe, "no" is a part of life.
When a child can hear and obey "no" from trusted adults she is likely to be able to do the same with God who demonstrates His love by clearly articulating what we should not do.
I Love You! The amount of love you plant in a child’s heart is much more important than the love you gather for yourself. Love matters too much to leave it assumed and unsaid. "I’ve told you I love you… if you don’t hear otherwise, assume it hasn’t changed" isn’t really all that funny!
Be clear, be deliberate, be steadfast, and be repetitive. Fred Rogers once said, "Children who hear that they are loved in many different ways are likely to find their own ways to say it to the people they love."
When a child believes that he is unconditionally loved it helps him begin to understand the concept of God’s unconditional love.
So what are you saying to the kids in your life? Are you building them up or tearing them down? I’m sure that your intentions are good… maybe it’s time to be intentional about your intentions?
These thoughts were taken from "Words Kids Need to Hear" by David Staal