Here is the truth about me and my parenting: I am far more likely to try to correct bad behaviour than to really praise good behaviour. And, what I mean by that is I tend to focus in on correcting poor behaviour and, while I’ll appreciate good behaviour, I can forget to really celebrate it.
Of course, it matters to correct bad choices, but what about encouraging good decisions? This is something I want to change in my life. I don’t want all my efforts going into course-correcting bad decisions, but rather I want to celebrate and really encourage my kids when they make the right decision.
The other day, we had a chance to practice this. I came home and found something totally unexpected. I drove in our driveway to find Hudson sweeping my neighbour’s driveway with her chatting away with him. Apparently, he was playing outside, saw her sweeping her driveway, got a broom and went over there on his own to help. He just took the initiative and acted.
When I went over to see him, Hudson told me why he was helping her. He said, “Dad we help our neighbours. That’s what we do, right?” Which I agreed to, and then he said, “Also Dad, she needs help. She is O-L-D.” (Hudson spelled it out loud because apparently he thinks older people can’t spell, and this, of course, was the way to share that fact sensitively. Now our neighbour is quite a bit older than we are. In fact, her kids are all retired along with her. So, different life stage).
But, here is why I mention this story: This was an opportunity to celebrate a really great decision. A chance not to just say, “I’m proud of you,” or “Great job Hudson!” but an opportunity to really show him that I was proud of him. To celebrate this, I got him his favourite donut from Tim Hortons, and we shared his donut while I shared why I was proud of him. For sure, this is a little thing, but it made a huge difference for Hudson.
I write all this to remind us all of one thing: What if you celebrated someone’s good decision, rather than just complaining or trying to correct their bad decisions? What if we put some effort into really encouraging, thanking and appreciating the surprising and unexpected good decisions that happen around us? Because, what I think might just happen is we might see more good decisions happen.
So, I’m learning to celebrate the great little decisions that happen each day. Because, I don’t want my kids to just not do bad things. I also want them to do the right things.