Winnie and her daughter Marissa were watching a nature special together. Winnie noticed a mother eagle feeding, protecting and sheltering her young. This was the picture Winnie had been looking for to help her communicate words of value to her 3-year-old.

Marissa had been a good big sister after her brother was born, running to get a diaper for Winnie or asking to hold the baby. Marissa’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Winnie found a small plush toy eagle at a toy store and waited for a quiet time to talk with Marissa.  “Do you remember that TV program about the eagles?” she asked Marissa.

Instantly her daughter recalled many details. “Well, honey, I want you to know that you remind me of that mommy eagle. You’ve helped take such good care of your little brother and I want you to know I am proud of you.”  For days, Marissa did not let that eagle out of her arms.

By using an object familiar to Marissa to praise her, Winnie communicated much more than a simple compliment. She gave her daughter an image of one way she was so valuable to her mother.*

Communicating a child’s value can be difficult. Familiar objects help.

Use everyday objects and be clear about the meaning of the object.

  • My life with you is like waking up to my birthday every day. You are like the best gift I could ever have.
  • You’re like that smiley-face sticker. Your happy spirit brightens my day.
  • When you played so hard knowing your team was losing, you reminded me of Grandpa. He never gave up. He’d be proud of you, and I am too.
  • You’re just like a beaver. No matter how many times his home is wiped out, he rebuilds again. He always repairs and rebuilds.

*The concept of the blessing, Winnie’s story, and some of the ideas for using everyday objects are taken from John Trent’s book The Blessing.

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