Middle school is tough. My youngest daughter just started sixth grade this year, and there’s a lot going on. Kids start switching classes, new friend groups, body changes, it all just seems to happen at once. It seems that kids are just under different pressures than we had when I was growing up. Maybe parents always say that throughout the generations, but from my viewpoint it feels like it. I feel like I wanna be there for my kids 24-7, but in reality we just can’t. And honestly, I know that’s for the best.
Here’s the thing… watching my daughter navigate this new season in her life in middle school, I noticed something. It was something that really impacted her. It was the power of a compliment. I noticed a few times she would wear a new shirt to school, and tell me when she got home that “Someone told me they liked it.” This happened multiple times. And then one day, out of the blue, I got a text from another mom thanking me because my daughter had given her child a compliment when she really needed one. Her friend had been nervous about something and hearing a positive reaction really helped ease her tension. She said, “You have no idea how much that impacted her.” I just thought, wow, that’s pretty awesome, just a little compliment made an impact.
Just recently, too, my youngest daughter got a haircut, and not just any haircut, she wanted “curtain bangs.” I get it, that’s the popular style, but anytime you’re talkin’ about adding any type of bangs or new style, it can be risky. Long story short, the hairdresser ended up cutting her bangs way too short, and my daughter was super self-conscious going to school the next day. As much as I complimented her and told her how awesome she looked, it wasn’t until some friends at school told her they liked it and complimented her that her day turned around.
Isn’t that amazing? A few little words can impact people like you never know.
It really got me thinking… Why do we sometimes have anxiety about giving out compliments? Or why do we sometimes think something nice in our head, but we don’t say it out loud to someone — even a stranger? I’m going to really urge my kids to give out compliments more. It not only makes them feel good, but you feel good, too.
Mark Twain once said, “The happy phrasing of a compliment is one of the rarest of human gifts, and the happy delivery of it another.” Twain was describing a meeting with the Emperor of Germany, who had praised his books. We’ve all been there, right? Bottom line, we’ve all been there. Feeling down in the dumps? Someone who comes along and gives you a compliment truly has the power to change your day. Or someone else’s.
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