Life is fast. Sometimes, it feels like I am speeding down life's freeway at 55 mph with no windshield...bugs in the face and all. It seems like I miss some...a lot... of things, because it's all coming at me so fast right now. A lot of times, I miss the power of an unsolicited, unexpected bit of praise for my children or my sweetheart. The power of that positive word was brought home to me tonight as God touched my heart through a gentle stranger.
Today was an amazing day. You know those days when you spend the entire day doing fun things,the kids get to be kids with very little fussing, and when the sun has been put to bed for a good, long time, the kids fall asleep in the car on the way home--all red-cheeked and sweaty around the hairline? Today was that kind of wonderful.
My daughter's birthday is this week, so we were celebrating. Family came in to visit, we had her birthday party with friends from school, dinner with my sister and brother-in-law and the surprise of this concert. (Thanks, Missy!)I couldn't have asked for a better day. As we sat on the field, the two younger kiddos danced, hugged, poked and just generally acted like children. I got to enjoy their hugs and "You're the best mommy ever!" sprinkled generously throughout their dancing. My birthday girl was happy. We were hot and sweaty, but I couldn't have cared less.
Sometime after 9 o'clock, we packed up to go home. The hubby and the little guy went to the car and let the "ladies" and I wait for him to drive the car around. As we were waiting, I felt a soft touch on my shoulder, and a sweet stranger said this to me. "We were sitting behind you, and I just wanted to tell you that you have a lovely family." She had a kind, soft smile on her face, and my heart melted at her words.
On the way home, I basked in the glow of a great day, and I started thinking that I want to be more like this lady. I do give praise. And I do try to get to the heart when I give it. But I have to tell you that a lot of times...a lot of times, I do it to get the desired behavior out of my children. ("Wow! You're such a big helper!" or "Thanks for feeding the dog without me asking you.") Not to say that training them in a positive way is bad. It's definitely not. But what would it do for them if I praised them sometimes when I stand to gain nothing? When it really is all for them? A gift to them. What would happen then? To them?
For that matter, what would happen if I praised my husband more--for being a hard worker, a risk-taker and possibility--see-er, a great and loyal friend, better than me at something? What in the world would happen in my home?
What would happen if I praised other people? I'm kind of shy, and it's an extra challenge for me to do this. But what would happen? If I praised a mom for her beautiful family? What would happen if I passed it on?