A child who knows how it feels to be appreciated is more likely to encourage others.
I saw my daughter Elisa, back when she was a first grader, put this into action. As she sat quietly in the church pew next to me, she spontaneously scribbled a note to our pastor, telling him she loved his “speeches” (especially the stories he wove into his sermons). After the worship service, she insisted on taking her note to him.
Later I wondered: Did any of the other thousand people attending that service—or any of the five thousand there that weekend—think to encourage him that day? I also wondered: How many of the people who clamored around Jesus, as he told his clever parables, thought to tell him, “We love your speeches!”
If any did, they might well have been children. To this day, children respond to Jesus’ stories. Even a small child grasps the importance of the shepherd who rejoiced at finding his lost sheep.
I also wonder if Jesus found it rejuvenating to hold precious, smiling, loose-toothed children, bursting with eager questions, open hearts, and funny mispronunciations?
On one occasion, His disciples attempted to shoo some children away, seeming to think they should be seen and not heard in the Master’s presence. Jesus, instead, welcomed them into His open arms. He taught the grown-ups that they needed to become more like those children.
As Christ revealed His love for children, those little boys and girls must have responded with eager affection, which I imagined in turn warmed Jesus’ heart.
My daughter Elisa’s encouraging words to our pastor came from deep within her, without prompting. She and her siblings have written countless words of affirmation to me. Many I have saved to reread when I need a boost! Their words have been much like those my children have heard since birth from each other, Mom and Dad, and others.
Appreciation is like a boomerang. Delight in your children, and it will eventually circle around back to you.
Laurie Winslow Sargent
From: Ch. 1: Delighted or Disillusioned, in Delight in Your Child’s Design.