ROOTED IN LOVE ◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
At the beginning of August, I undertook the process of potty training my son. He was a few weeks shy of two years old at the time, and I was getting tired of changing diapers. So I bought him a couple packs of big boy undies and started putting him in them during the day. Like most parents, I wasn’t excited about the experience. I had already been through it with my daughter, but I had heard that boys are much harder to potty train than girls. Needless to say, I was dreading the messes I would certainly have to clean up for several days until he figured it out. My expectations weren’t high, and I figured it would take a while before he got the hang of it.
But he absolutely blew my expectations out of the water. Yes, he had a few accidents, and it did take him a little longer to figure out #2. But he did an amazing job! I created a sticker chart for him to use, where he would get a sticker each time he went on the potty without having an accident, and he filled the entire thing up in the first two days. He understood what he was supposed to do, and he really tried hard to do it. I think it helped having a big sister around to encourage and support him, and I’m really thankful for that. I was also so impressed by my son’s determination and success.
Looking back on the experience, I realized that my attitude wasn’t the greatest going into it, and that realization led to another one – my attitude isn’t the best going into a lot of things. I’m guessing that most of you can relate.
All too often when we encounter a challenge or undertake a new endeavor, we take on an attitude of defeat before we even get started. Instead of hoping for good results, we dread what could go wrong. We become our own worst enemies because we allow our minds to be controlled by negative thinking.
If I had chosen a better attitude going into potty training, I might have enjoyed it more. It’s something you only do once with your child; and while it might not be exactly fun, it’s an experience I want to remember. Throughout the process, I was able to see glimpses of my son’s character. He might only be two, but he is pretty determined and quite clever. I can only imagine the challenges he will courageously conquer as he journeys through his life, and I want to be a voice of encouragement through those times.
I want my children to know I believe in them, which means that I have to be positive. I can’t go into things with a negative attitude or one of defeat. I can’t doubt their abilities or lower my expectations for their success. I have to be positive and encouraging, and I have to hope for the best. If I expect good things, I will create a healthy environment for growth. But if I am always expecting the worst, I will only hinder their confidence.
Now, before I finish up, I am not saying that positive thinking alone will lead my children to success. There are many ingredients that will go into it, most of all faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His calling. But positivity is a must for their self-esteem, and it also helps foster a healthy pattern of growth. If my home is a garden and my children are the flowers, then positivity is the sunshine that helps them bloom. Their roots are watered and their souls are nourished through a relationship with God. That is the foundation that will ultimately set them up for success. But without the sunshine of positivity, their colors won’t be as vibrant and their petals will start to wilt.
Whether it’s potty training, learning to drive, or choosing a college, our babies need to know that we believe in them. They need our support, our encouragement, our positive contribution. When we hope for the best in their lives, they will be more confident in going after their dreams. When we shine a light to them, they will know how to shine a light to others. A good attitude goes a long way, and it’s up to us to set that stage.
“Encourage one another and build each other up.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11