Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see the overdo haircut, the roots that need to be redone or maybe the laugh lines that God blessed you with. Or are you able to see the kind and loyal woman who flew cross country to be with her best friend after a difficult divorce, the loving and committed mother who sat up all night comforting her sick child or perhaps the tenacious yet joy filled women who’s battling cancer and determined to BEAT it.
In this superficial world we live in it’s all too easy to only look at people’s exterior; never realizing the amazing, strong, kind or compassionate person they may be. Perhaps even more often we only look at and judge ourselves according to our outside appearances, forgetting the person inside. Our exterior shell is temporary and can easily be changed according to the latest styles and technology. It’s the very core of a person which truly determines who we are. This is where our character dwells. This is what distinguishes us from others and makes us unique. Once we learn to recognize character and not just external trappings we can begin to see not only others but ourselves for who we truly are.
Who do our children see when they look in their mirror? Who do we see when we look at them? Are we able to recognize the child who brought their failing math grade up but missed the A they were shooting for, even though they did everything right and worked very hard for it? Are we able to not only see but also acknowledge and celebrate the fact that they did their homework, studied (when playing outside was what they really wanted to do on a beautiful day), worked with the teacher and asked us for help when they needed it. They showed perseverance, commitment, patience and were responsible in their quest for their goal of getting the A. If we only focus on the fact that they didn’t get the A, it takes our focus off the most important fact. They made good choices and showed great character as they worked hard towards their goal. They just don’t have that A “yet”. If they don’t get discouraged and continue what they’re already doing, they’ll be sure to get it. Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Michael Jordan and even Lucille Ball are examples of people who wouldn't let their circumstances and failures discourage them and went on to accomplish great things.
What about the child who is successful? Definitely celebrate, but again recognize the choices they’ve made and hard work that led to their accomplishments. Those choices are a reflection of their character which will always be there for them when perhaps because of moving to a new school, an injury or life circumstances, their successes may not be. If their identity is not defined by their successes but rather their choices and character they will be able to redirect those same gifts and character traits and continue to find success in a different setting.
Since we typically behave consistently with the way we see ourselves look for the opportunities to show your children who they are based on what’s on the inside. So when they look in the mirror they see the kind, responsible, hardworking, respectful child you’ve told them they are when you’ve seen the behavior that reflects those traits. There’s a buried treasure hidden inside each of us. Celebrate each and every jewel called “character” as you discover them, in both you and your children. Eventually every time, no matter the circumstances, your child (and even you) looks in the mirror they’ll see a beautiful person of worth – of character. That’s when they’ll know they are a person to be treasured and their choices, decisions, boundaries, standards and life in general will reflect it.
When was the last time you complimented your child on their behavior or choices? Any time we look for something, we will find it. So look for the good things your children are doing and make a big deal about it – because it is a big deal. This is the stuff that determines their futures and quality of life.
You've got this!
Have a great week.
Michelle Weber is the owner of Family Enrichment Tools, LLC and the creator of the Family Honor Plate and Table Thyme Discussion Cards. Her passion is helping families reconnect around the family dinner table while celebrating choices and character. Start your new family traditions today.
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