As parents, we have a wonderful opportunity to speak into the lives of our children at crucial times. Our words carry the power of life; they can also create wounds that may last a lifetime.
We have always spoken to our girls in terms of “when you go to college” instead of “if you go to college.” In this way, it becomes an expected next step in life. It also reinforces our belief in their capabilities and potential. It’s part of creating a culture of positive expectation.
When talking about taking a family vacation to Europe or Hawaii, we often joke that “when you become a big-short attorney you can take all four of us.” I have no assumption either girl will be an attorney (nor do I really want them to be), but it’s another way of conveying to them … “You are capable of great things.”
As a father to two daughters, I’m also aware of how important it is for me to place a higher value on the internal beauty within than the beauty on the outside. Our cultural forces present an image of womanhood that is partial and often partially (if not totally) inaccurate. The messages they see in print or on television is that external beauty is what wins the day … gets attention … gives value … provides significance.
As a father, I have a responsibility for helping them see their inner beauty and draw strength from that. But how? It’s not as easy as heading to the mall and buying clothes straight off the mannequin. It requires capturing and honoring those moments when the inner beauty surfaces through compassion or generosity or unselfishness. It’s more than positive reinforcement, it’s a values realignment.
Use your words to create …
Use your words wisely.