Affirming Character

As you send your children off to school this week or in the coming weeks, don’t forget to affirm who they are as individuals. Remind them of the parts of their character that you admire. Perhaps it’s her empathy for someone who was bullied or his kindness when helping his brother up from a fall or her thoughtfulness when she held a door for a mother pushing a stroller. These small affirmations can fill the sails of a child and reaffirm in her own mind the importance of character and in turn, build her self-confidence without creating narcissism or arrogance.

One of my favorite parts of the book and the movie The Help by Kathryn Stockett occurs when one of the main characters, Aibileen Clark, tells her young charge Mae Mobley: “You is smart. You is kind. You is important.” She then makes Mae Mobley repeat the affirmation. It’s heartbreaking to watch knowing that the girl’s mother sees few redeeming qualities in her daughter and spares little affection. Here’s the video clip:

I keep a quote journal of my favorite quotes I come across and this quote is getting added. While Stockett’s book is filled with memorable lines, as a mother, the essence of Aibileen’s doting wisdom inspires me to remember that simple reminders and affirmations matter to our kids. Not only do they want to please us (although it doesn’t always seem that way), but they also deserve to be proud of who they are and what they offer the world around them.

Do you have any affirmations that you like to share with your child?

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