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Sunday, August 14, 2005

"I'm so proud of you..." or am I?

Naturally, as Christian parents, we want to reinforce good behavior & attitudes in our children. For example, if Matthew (our 3-year-old) does something particularly thoughtful, a common refrain we've put in has been “Great job! I'm so proud of you!” It struck me, though, that perhaps while the sentiment is noble, the wording may not be ideal.

I noted this in the context of our recently starting to read with him a book called My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt. This is a really great book that teaches one bible verse for each letter of the alphabet. What makes it really nice is the stories which accompany each verse -- they tell simple (fictional) stories of a brother and sister, and how they are learning to apply simply Scriptural truths and ethics to their lives. But I digress. The main point is, each time one of the children in the stories does something admirable, the mother's response is not “I’m proud of you” but rather something along the lines of “I'm so glad the Lord gave you the grace to...

I think you get the idea. It seems more “T.C.” (theologically correct) and potentially more God-glorifying; if we can teach our children, even in so small a thing as the words we use in praising their actions. Just a subtle shift can have great impact in pointing our children to the One they should honor when their actions are praiseworthy.