So, while I’m on a soapbox about things mattering, I’ll go ahead and write about another thing that’s been on my mind and heart for a few months. I haven’t written about it before now because I want to be sensitive about it, and not portray anyone in a negative context, as that’s not my intention.
Earlier this summer my older two children participated in a half-day program with about 15 other children. Most of the other children who attended the program go to a local private school. Most of their mothers know each other and had formed a little clique.
My children do not go to that school, and while we know a few of the children and moms, we were certainly not in the clique. Okay by me. However, when we were all waiting for our children to finish for the day, it was a little awkward standing there with almost none of the moms even looking my way. (Feels like childhood insecurities all over again.)
All of it was okay, we were fine. It didn’t matter to us anyway. The kids had fun at their program and then we had fun together in the afternoons after the program was over.
One afternoon, I promised the kids that we would do something special after their program — we’d go to the pool and have lunch, etc. So I dressed Sadie and I for our fun afternoon and then went to pick up the other two and head to the pool.
When we got there, I noticed that another Mom and daughter, who were waiting for a little boy in the program, seemed to be dressed for the same activity. We’ve played with them before, so I asked if they were going to the pool and if they wanted to.
Her response was, “Oh…um…is that what everyone is doing?”
Um, okay…my response was, “Well, I don’t know what everyone is doing, but that’s what we’re doing, and you guys are welcome to join us if you want.”
Her response was, “Well, we were, uh, doing something…else.”
Something about that stung a bit. Maybe you had to be there to see/get it. But, essentially what she was implying was that what my children and I were doing wasn’t good enough unless the rest of the crowd/clique was doing it. (Let me just insert a disclaimer here: This Mom is very nice and has never been anything but nice to me prior to this. She probably did not intend for her response/reaction to come across like this. I have no hard feelings toward her and would not even want an apology or anything. So, while I doubt this will occur, if she happens to read this and realize I’m writing about her, no worries, really.)
Okay, now contrast that interaction with the following:
The second week of the program came, and I went to pick up the kids again. This time, one of the Moms that I do know smiled and chatted with me for a second. When we were about to leave, she said this…
“Kresta, I’ve been meaning to tell you. . . There’s just something about you that is so beautiful. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like you just glow or something. You need to tell your husband I said he is a lucky man.”
I was stunned, in a good way this time. First of all, one of my main love languages is ‘words of affirmation’. This was like water in a desert for me. It meant so much to me that she would take a minute to tell me that, and she will never know the impact that had on my day/week/month. I thanked her profusely for saying such kind things to me (and assured her I would tell my husband that part about him!).
Second, I wanted to tell her that it’s only the work of the cross in my life that she sees; that I am really pretty awfully ugly on my own. I didn’t say that, ’cause I just don’t know how to word stuff like that without sounding like a dufus — haha.
So the point of this post is this — your words mean so much. Whether or not it’s your love language or that of to whom you are speaking (wow, that’s some darn-good grammar right there, hehe!). What you say has so much impact on the people around you. Choose your words wisely.
Your children, your spouse, your volunteers, your co-workers, your friends, and the random Moms who are just outside the clique at the school or the summer program — they all need affirmation. Now, don’t just go making up crap to tell people. But find the redeeming qualities in them and then tell them about them.
Janet Phillips, who has an amazing blog called Preparing the Soil, wrote an incredible post about “Thoughts on Affirming Our Children“. I highly recommend that post and her blog.
So, this is just something to really think and pray about. Didn’t intend to be preachy (today or yesterday), but I thought it was worth posting about. I need to be so much better at this myself.
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