“ If you look back on your life, you will probably acknowledge that it was the little things, the small gestures of support, encouragement and love that meant the most to you. Whether they came from a parent, a colleague at work, a high-school sweetheart or a life companion, these simple, heartfelt reminders of their faith in you probably meant more than all the external rewards of a lifetime.
In that regard, one of my fondest childhood memories is of lunchtime in the school cafeteria. I assure you, it wasn’t due to the quality of the food! Rather, it was because every time I brought my lunch to school, I would open the bag to discover that my mother had included a personal note with the lunch. Inevitably the note would tell me that she loved me, believed in my ability to succeed, and knew that I would make it a successful day.
Few feelings in life are more wonderful than the inner glow that comes from knowing that your parents are on your side, believe in you, and will stand by you through thick and thin (and believe me, my childhood had more than its share of both). So my suggestion to all parents is to do what my mother did – when you send your child off to school, slip an encouraging note in with her lunch. Then find other occasions for positive notes and support, too.
You can never acknowledge your children too much. You can never remind them too often that they are lovable, capable and worthy of your confidence and trust. As a parent, you have the opportunity every day to give your children these crucial gifts of the heart. They are simple, they take very little time, and yet they can have a powerful even transforming impact on children’s self-esteem that can last them all their lives.
One of the easiest ways to keep track of how well you are reinforcing your children’s feelings of self esteem, is to ask yourself the following questions every evening: “If it were entirely a result of what I said and did today, how would my children feel about themselves as human beings? What have I done today to fill their cup of self-esteem to overflowing?”
As you honestly answer these questions, you will provide yourself with a built-in guide for establishing the parenting style and relationship with your children that sets them on the path to becoming nurtured, secure, caring human beings. Parenting is the task of leading our children on a unique treasure hunt, where they themselves are the treasure. It is an adventure in self-discovery that requires us, their parents to serve as guides, cheerleaders, sources of inspiration and models of behavior. By fulfilling this role, we empower our children to see themselves as capable of success in this lifelong challenge of self-discovery and fulfillment.