One day when I was an early teenager, a teacher or other adult in my life had some kind of problem or disagreement with me. I can’t remember any specifics. The one thing I do remember is that I felt wrongly accused. My dad, after hearing the situation, said he trusted me and not the now-forgotten adult. I’ve never forgotten that moment when my dad believed in me over an authority figure.
Keep in mind, this was a time when some of my friends seemed to hate their parents and the smallest issues became shouting matches in their homes. While my parents and I had a certain level of “teenage years” disagreements, I never felt like they didn’t trust or respect me.
I remember my mom and dad saying things to me. They probably weren’t giving much thought to their words, just responding to a given situation or question. It was normal, everyday talk.
Other times, my parents would ask for my attention or the attention of all of us kids. They’d then say something important, something that they really wanted us to pay attention to. To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of the things my parents said at these times.
I’ve told different people, “When you said ________, that really stuck with me,” and then watched a look of surprise come to their faces. Just like with my parents, the words that made an impact on my life were (usually) just part of an average conversation.
Thankfully, God has filled my life with people who have enriched me. The memorable words from my parents were words of blessing and encouragement. I think part of the power of everyday words is that humans are often most honest in normal conversation.
My parents didn’t prepare and rehearse pep talks for their kids. They did, however, genuinely love and believe in us. As optimistic parents, their everyday conversation with us was about our potential, our good qualities, and their high expectations for us. Out of these normal conversations came unintentional phrases of gold that have stayed with me for years.
For parents of young kids today, I need to mention that I didn’t always enjoy these conversations and the high expectations of my parents. It would have been more fun to be sent to the office for discipline problems. Cheating on tests would have been easier than earning my grades. Quitting the team would have saved me some sweat and pain. Just because your kid might appreciate your optimism in fifteen years, doesn’t mean he or she won’t complain about it right now.