"Mommy, may I help fold the clothes?" three-year-old Amy asked. Minutes later her mother looked in horror at the pieces her daughter had folded and immediately started to refold them. Amy began to cry. She had been proud of her job.
Her mother realized she had hurt her daughter. Did it really matter if the laundry wasn't folded as usual? Wasn't it more important to help her daughter feel confident in her work?
A child's feeling of competence is formed according to how he thinks others, especially his mother, feel toward him. If he's frequently told he does a sloppy job, he'll continue to fulfill what he thinks is expected of him.
In her book Children Are Wet Cement, Ann Ortlund wrote, "Over and over Ray and I told each child separately, 'I can hardly wait 'til you grow up. You're going to stand out in a crowd! You're going to love the Lord; you're going to lead others in spiritual things; you're going to be a wonderful Christian adult. We'll be so proud of you.' And it's true; each one of them has become that."
The impressions our words make as they go into his ears and down into his heart are absolutely crucial in forming his concept of his abilities.
Jesus, let my words be as encouraging as Yours must have been to children.
"Kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body" (Proverbs 16:24 NLT).
"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness" (Proverbs 31:26 NLT).