Monday, February 4, 2008

Accentuate the Positive

In 1940, Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics for a song used in Bing Crosby’s movie “Here Comes the Waves.” The title to Johnny’s unique and catchy song was, Accentuate the Positive; Eliminate the Negative. Not a bad theme song for us as moms, wouldn’t you agree? It is our job to bring attention to the positive attributes in our kid’s lives, noticing and acknowledging their good deeds, words and actions. The flip side of our job is to eliminate the negative. We do this through wise and thoughtful discipline which we will discuss in the next section.
Never underestimate the power of your words of affirmation or your expression of appreciation for your kids. Our accolades come in all shapes and sizes. It can be in the form of a hug or a smile or simply being there. The bottom line in parenting is our kids need our time and attention when they are doing something right. All too often kids get their parents attention only when they are doing something wrong. This would be a different song title, “Accentuate the Negative.” As parents we must make an intentional effort to give attention to the positive, not the negative.
When it comes to emphasizing the good there are a multitude of possibilities. Certainly our encouraging words give a big boost to our kids as we talked about earlier. But there are other ways to show our support and attention to them.
Consider the following accent marks for your kids:
· Volunteer as a leader or helper for their favorite activity
· Search for exhibits or shows in your area appealing to their interests or talents and make plans to go together
· Attend their performances and athletic events
· Invite their friends over and get to know them
· Bake their favorite dinner or snack
· Make a special plate or flag to use only for special achievements or occasions
· Give a flower or gift with a note of appreciation
· Visit them at school for lunch or take them out
· Go on a short trip or day trip, just the two of you
· Play a game or do an art project of their choice
· On occasion, join them in doing their chores
· Go for a walk together and tell them how special they are to you

Remember the simple things such as a listening ear, eye contact and a smile can be just the pat on the back our kids need to move forward in confidence. Our ultimate goal is the build up what is good in our children, so they feel noticed for what they are doing right. Just as an accent mark tells us what to emphasize in a word, so our accent marks of attention show our kids what we are emphasizing. Let’s be diligent to emphasize the positive strengths in each of our kids, and watch some of the negatives dissipate in the process. (Excerpt from Bright Ideas for Busy Moms)

Family Fun: Set aside a time this week to bake Valentines cookies together (even boys can get into baking – tell them they can lick the spoon). As you enjoy your time together, talk about some of the qualities you appreciate in each child. Laugh and enjoy your time with one another. Decide together who you are going to give the cookies to in order to be a blessing.

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