Thursday, October 24, 2013

Are you proud of me?

Are you proud of me?

If you're a father, mother, teacher, student, sibling, daughter or have heard or asked this question.  It is a question we all ask, even if we don't verbalize it.  We wonder if we have made someone proud with our actions.

When my daughter was born almost five years ago, I had no idea just how many times I would be asked this question.

"I zipped my pants by myself!  Are you proud of me??"  

"I ate ALL of my dinner!  Are you proud of me??"

"I obeyed the first time.  Are you proud of me??"

Now let's be honest, sometimes this is followed by a "Can I have a piece of candy for that?"  But nonetheless, apparently there is a never ending list of accomplishments, that grows seemingly by the hour.  Now of course, as we grow older, I am no longer asking anyone to be proud of me for eating all of my dinner but I do wonder sometimes "Am I being a good wife?"  "Am I being a fun mom?"  "Am I spending enough time with each child individually?"  Some of you may wonder "Is my boss impressed with how I handled that situation?"

Well, there are always things we do not need to be patted on the back for, and then there are times when it is appropriate.  Of course we learn as we grow older that we don't need to live trying to please everyone.  Believe it or not, there will be someone, at some point in time who may not like you!  (I know, that has NEVER happened to me!  *wink wink*)  And in those times, it can be difficult to redirect our focus on not pleasing everyone in the world.  But in this post I want to focus on the positives of saying those five words "I am proud of you."

The last several months have been on the more difficult side for my husband and myself.  He was finishing up graduate school, we were trying to sell our home (which didn't happen), we were preparing to move away (as in 8 hours away), we had to send our sweet 15 year old dog to doggy heaven, we were doing horribly financially (moving is expensive), my 14 month old son was going to PT for toe pointing, I had skin cancer a few months prior (thankfully not melanoma), the list goes on.  It could have been much worse, but there were a lot of things all happening at once.  Our plates were full.  Last weekend we went to my husband's parents' home (I call them my in-loves).  My father-in-love expressed how proud he was of us.  He told us that he knew how much we had been through the last several months and he was so proud of the way we handled everything.  I have to tell you that I almost cried, and that this meant the world to me.  To hear someone you love so much tell you how proud they are of you...even at the age of was incredible.  I still re-play his words in my mind throughout the week.  It still makes me smile.

We are instructed by the Lord to encourage one another.  I Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."  Now this may come very easily to some, and be more difficult for others.  Some of us have encouragement as a spiritual gift, and others may not.  And that's okay!  So however that person will feel encouraged, just try it!  Some of us are encouraged by action, others are encouraged by words of affirmation.  But it never hurts to let someone know you are proud of them.

So when your toddler asks if you're proud of them for the zillionth time today, just remember how good it feels to hear those words.  When your husband does something wonderful, tell him how proud you are of his accomplishments.  When your wife has endured the longest day EVER with kids pulling her hair, tell her how proud you are!  When a student you have does something kind for another student, tell them you're proud!   It may make a world of difference in their day, or even in their life.

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