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Choosing love over Criticism

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We’ve all heard this saying “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar” in other words as human beings and even animals we respond better to love. In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) says And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. Everything we are is based on love, so why shouldn’t our discipline.

This week I read a quote that literally changed my life in regards to how to deal with people and I felt convicted in my relationships and mostly how I choose to raise my children.

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“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.”

― Dave Willis

I read this quote over and again, I wrote it twice, once in my notebook, and once on a purple sticky note that to this day is still on my car console. Love is just that important, and I felt it was important and something I needed to be reminded of daily.

How many times do I choose love over criticism?

Do I criticize more than I compliment?

Do I acknowledge more of what people do the right way or give more life to what they do incorrectly?

Last week my Grandmother surprised us with a visit on her way back home to Chicago from visiting my Aunt and Cousin in Arizona. We went to Chick-fil-A for restaurant night to support my daughter’s school and as we sat across the table from one another eating chicken sandwiches and kids meals she blurted out…you’re a really good mother, you’re very patient and you don’t do a lot of fussing. It felt really good coming from a woman who raised 7 children, grandchildren and lived in an era that said you do as I say and not as I do and when I spank you I do it because I love you.

While the complement felt great, I still couldn’t help but think about that quote and how in more areas than one I could stand to be more of an encourager and less of a critic. As a parent, there are two areas that get under my skin, and I haven’t even made it to the teenage years yet…disrespect and ungratefulness. When my kid’s behaviors venture over into those two categories, you can forget it…criticism comes first and encouragement last.

What would happen if I chose encouragement over criticism? What would that teach my child about conflict? What would happen if in most situations I chose love over punishment…punishment, not discipline? I can think back to plenty of cases where I gave punishment when I should’ve given love. Does it mean that I won’t punish my children…Absolutely not! It just means I will be more conscious of the times I use punishment and the times I just need to show extra love and attention.

“Parenting is not about being the perfect parent, but finding the perfect method to raise your child.”

Choose Love Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Listen. Sometimes children just want to be heard and understood. Whether they are 5 or 45, they just want to know that someone is this enormous and sometimes unfair world hears them.

2. Choose your words. Words have power. I can remember most of the negative words that have been said to me over time more than the positive ones. Alter your language and tone, many times it’s how you say something versus what you actually say.

3. Be open. Could it be that our kids lie to us because they are afraid of the criticism that comes along with telling the truth. Punishment creates fear and closes the door to future conversations.

Love is an open language, criticism closes the door and stops up our ears and clouds are hearts. Encouragement breathes life. What am I teaching my kids about love? How am I teaching them about love outside of what I say, but in my actions?

Choose love.

Choose to uplift.

Choose to see the best.

Choose to accept.

Choose to listen.

Choose to find the good.

Choose happiness.

Choose kindness.

Choose to speak life.

Choose to encourage.

Choose to love.

Love could be the difference maker in a parent-child relationship, it could be the difference maker in a broken marriage. It has the power to mend a friendship. Love could make someone’s day and cause them not to give up. There are enough critics, be an encourager.

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Planting Positive Seeds in our Children

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Raising daughters is complicated. There is so much at stake. The seeds you plant as children have direct effects on the woman they will become. During my 7 years of parenting, I’m still learning the difficult lesson of what I call “parenting by personality”. Each of my daughters has two individual personalities and these personalities need individual methods of discipline, tone of voice, and love. Lately I’ve noticed. my oldest daughter, who just turned 7 a few months ago has been seeking attention from me. If I compliment my 4 year old, she asks why didn’t I compliment her, if I lay down on the couch there is a constant battle of who will takeover the 80% or 20% of my small framed body. The other day my daughter yelled out words (I didn’t think I would have to hear until she was a teenager) “You don’t love me, as much as you love…”. I started to get angry and I blurted out “If I didn’t love you I would not…” Then I thought to myself, why am I trying to explain the infinite nature of a mother’s love to a 7 year old!

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One of my good friends, Wendy, introduced me to Joel Osteen radio on Sirius XM radio (Channel 128 if you’re interested in checking it out). I spend almost 3 hours a day in the car on my commute to and from work, so a quality mix of music, talk, and inspiration is very valuable to me. As I listened on my way home a message “Seeds of Greatness” started to play. In the message Pastor Joel began to speak on planting seeds of greatness in other people and how this has a direct affect on how far they go, how they feel about themselves, and ultimately drowning out the negative voices within themselves and the negative words spoken over them by others.

That night on my drive home, I began to reflect and it constantly lead me back to love. Most times instead of scolding our children or attempting to correct their behavior, sometimes they just need our reassurance and love. I decided to send her a message on my way home.

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This year has been a year of change for my family, but especially our children. They moved away from their family and friends whom they have great relationships with, left the only school they have known and have had to adapt to a totally new environment. So a little crying is ok. The world is a scary and judgmental place even at the age of 7. So as parents it is our job, to plant and water positive seeds in our children to outweigh the negative seeds the world will attempt to plant in them. It’s funny how kids totally operate from instinct…as I planted seeds in her, she turned around and planted positive seeds right back into me. Thanks baby 🙂

As a child its natural to compliment and to build people up, somehow along the way as adults life tends to make us callous and afraid to be vulnerable to other people. Thus, it can be easier to name all of the things about people that we don’t like versus writing a list of what we do like.

Homework assignment: Identify 5 people in your life and practice planting positive seeds in there lives. Tell them what you love about them, share with them future potential, and encouragement. What do you have to lose?

Let me know how it goes! I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below or send me an email to info@onehautemommi.com.