As parents, we’re in the business of building. We build towers when our children are small so that they can crash them. We help build school projects and pinewood derby cars so our kids can be successful. But probably most importantly, we build self-esteems.
Mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers have the tender responsibility of helping our children feel good about themselves. It’s not always easy to do. Some kids come pre-made perky and confident, others come straight from heaven carrying some complicated emotional baggage.
A few weeks ago, I heard a woman relate the story of her insecure daughter and one sweet way she helped boost her self-esteem. I loved her secret so much, I knew I had to share it. This woman’s daughter—I’ll call her Katie—struggled to feel accepted. At school, she was timid and rarely spoke. When asked who her friends were, Katie just shrugged. To her mother, this was heartbreaking as you can imagine. She couldn’t just stand there and watch her daughter’s sadness, so she got an idea. She would be Katie’s “secret pal.”
Getting Katie’s teacher involved, this mother typed several encouraging notes to Katie. She asked the teacher to please leave them sporadically in Katie’s desk, locker, or lunch box. Each day of the secret pal project, Katie came home a slightly different person. She was happier—you could see the shine in her eyes. Although she never told her mom about the secret pal, Katie was quick to give her mom a hug or share something extra about her day.
Be Their Secret Pal
If you have a child, grandchild, student, or friend who could use a little building, become their secret pal. Mail them an encouraging letter, slip an anonymous note into their backpack, or leave them a small gift and a positive note. Everyone loves to be acknowledged and sometimes it’s the quiet ones that slip through the cracks.
Sometimes one friendly note can make all the difference in the world.
To Katie, the thrill was knowing that someone was watching, that someone was aware of her. Who was that person? The teacher, after seeing Katie’s touching reaction to her secret pal, decided that everyone in the class would adopt a secret pal. The class spent the week leaving their secret pal sweet notes and surprises. Everyone’s morale, including Katie’s skyrocketed.
Everyone Could Use a Secret Pal
Even if your child has a strong self-image, they would still love a secret pal! Take one week and be as anonymous as possible, leaving a note or little gift to build them up and propel them forward.
You could also make it a fun family project to adopt a secret pal at school or at home. This is one activity that benefits the giver and the receiver equally.
We don’t always know what thoughts and emotions are stirring around inside those bodies we created. But we can build them up with just a few kind words of encouragement. It could make all the difference in the world.
Building up one another, especially our children, is so important! Here are some other great ideas to help with that:
Are you a builder or a bulldozer?
10 Ways to Raise a Self-Confident Child
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