All the parenting websites offer untold advice about encouraging our children. They tell us to motivate them, interest them and help them become independent. We are to support them and be there for them without taking over. We are to teach them and educate them without becoming bossy.
It’s all terribly complicated. As parents, we are encouraged to have meaningful conversations with our offspring, we are to embrace their imperfections, express our appreciation, lead by example and apologise to them when we screw it up.
Anyway, the tides were turned in my house recently when the encourager became the encouraged, the supporter became the supported and the motivator became the motivated. The lines became somewhat blurred and positions became tangled. Support I was in need of came from an unexpected source. Motivation and encouragement were offered from an unanticipated place. And it was all the sweeter being so unexpected.
In a very short space of time I had to prepare a sales pitch like no other. This meant endless amounts of preparation, study and recitation. I pored over documents. I researched endless facts and I watched videos in the art of the sales technique I required.
Naturally enough the whole family knew about my gargantuan task. They sighed in frustration when dinner was delayed. They hung around in annoyed silence when I was late to collect them. Their sports gear went neglected, their homework went unchecked and their spellings were just forgotten about. In fact I was downright distracted and preoccupied for the short space of time involved.
But when the morning of the big presentation arrived, I received a pleasant and unexpected surprise. I had to get up at silly o’clock to prepare before work. There I was making the most of the solitude when the door opened and in crept my little son. I gazed at him in bewilderment and rubbing his sleepy eyes he said he got up early to help me prepare. He took my notes and talked me through them. He critiqued my outfit and offered helpful suggestions. He even added words and phrases where I was stuck.
For that short while he became the teacher, the motivator, the advocate. He understood the importance of my scheduled meeting and the significance of it. This young lad encouraged me and pushed me a little and with his support I knew I could move mountains.
When a child believes in you and sees you as more than you see yourself then you can’t help but feel ten feet tall.
Children don’t mess around. They don’t understand subtlety and nuances and are incredibly tactless for the most part. They say it as they see it, so if they say you look good then you look good. If they think you can do it then believe me you can do it. They are straight up and honest and utterly candid. And if they are on your side then you are already one step ahead.
Sometimes all a child needs to hear is ‘I’m here for you.’ They just need to know that you’re there regardless especially to help out when the going gets tough. It reassures them, gives them confidence and makes them feel loved. Now I know exactly how important that is.
When I came in from the big event later that day I was met with three expectant, yet hesitant faces. They all offered hugs and shoulders and had tissues at the ready just in case. All along I have tried to teach them that they are supported and loved regardless of the outcome once they try their best.
It would appear that the message sunk in as they were just concerned with me and how I was after the big event rather than the potential outcome.
The support I received from them through the whole ordeal was so special and so helpful. It gave me a confidence I didn’t know I had. It gave me something to aim for because I didn’t want to let them down. And the end result was really positive. To be fair after such encouragement that morning I could have sold sand to the Arabs. When a child believes in you, you really can move mountains.