Growing up is hard. Maybe I was just a particularly insecure kid, but I remember how painful life could be even back in elementary school. “Does my friend still like me, will there be room for me at the lunch table, will I be the last one picked for the team”… those type of thoughts constantly running through my mind. And I think that if we’re honest, most of us have struggled with those type of feelings at some point along the way. (And maybe we still do!)
That’s why feeding our children a steady diet of words of encouragement and affirmation is so important. They get so many messages about what’s “wrong” with them. As parents, we need to be constantly reminding them about what’s “right” with them. I’m not talking about false praise or protecting children from consequences of their mistakes. But as parents, we need to be their greatest cheerleaders. To help them see that they are unique, special, beautiful children of God.
One very simple way to do that is through a note of encouragement in the lunch bag!
As soon as my daughter could read, I started packing a little note on an index card with her lunch each day. I bought a pack of brightly colored index cards and some cute stickers. And in about 30 second each morning I wrote a little note to her.
The messages weren’t long…but I wanted to constantly remind her that she was loved and that she was special.
Being a pack rat, I even saved a stack of them. (Often, they returned home in the lunch box at the end of the day!) My reasoning was “if something ever happens to me, I want whomever takes over packing her lunch to remind her of how much I loved her.” Thankfully, that didn’t happen…but it did allow me to pull them out recently and to smile, remembering those days that had passed so quickly. And since I’m one who always likes examples, I thought it might be helpful to share a few of my notes with you.
“Roses are red, violets are blue, having you as a daughter is way too cool!”
“Your loving heart blesses me every day.”
“If God let me pick out what I wanted for a daughter, you’d be my #1 choice!”
“When I count my blessings, I count you twice! I am so thankful that God trusted me to be your mom!”
“Smile! Jesus loves you…and I do too!”
“I love your sparkle!’
“Remember, you are the apple of God’s eye (and mine, too!)
“You are fun to be with…and I am so thankful for your joyful spirit.”
The notes weren’t fancy. And she never said much about them. But I think that in some small way, they helped her journey through the elementary school years be a little less bumpy.
Parents of little ones…even grandparents…I hope you’ll try it! Don’t minimize the potential impact of small, daily deposits of encouragement into a child’s life.