At least once a day, I look into the eyes of my kids, wait for their glance to meet mine, and then I say this:
You are strong. You are brave. You are good. You are loved.
I want them to know they are strong—to believe it’s true—because someday somebody’s going to tell them they are weak or tell them they aren’t strong enough or knock them down and cause them to feel weak or unprepared or afraid.
I tell them they are brave to empower their spirits, to embolden the corners of their young minds with words that will affirm who they are, to remind them that I believe they are valiant souls made by God to be, when necessary, fearless, courageous, and daring.
I remind them they are good because I know that someday they will likely be tempted to tell themselves that they aren’t good, that they’ll look in the mirror and see their reflections and think that the image staring back at them isn’t good enough or cool enough or skinny enough or talented enough or smart enough. My prayer is that in those moments, my words will seep to the surfaces of their brains and that they will choose to believe what Daddy has told them all of their lives, that who God made them to be is good—perhaps not perfect, perhaps not the best, perhaps not making smart choices—but nonetheless, good.
I say they are loved so that they know they belong to something bigger, that they are strong, brave, good individuals who are part of a family, a group of people who they are spiritually, emotionally, and physically connected to, and that they are important to us, that they are loved, that they are needed.
I tell them they are strong, brave, good, and loved because I believe these things are true. I tell them to remind myself of who I am and what I believe. I tell them these things, because if I don’t, somebody else will. I tell them because all of us need to know, to be reminded of who God made us to be…
So just in case you need a reminder…
You are strong, friend.
You are brave, child.
You are good, ma’am.
And you are loved…
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