As a parent your words are powerful. The Bible tells us, you have the power to speak life or death to your children (Proverbs 18:21). Of all the words you can speak, I believe there are four that can be among the most powerful to your child.
I’ve shared before that I grew up in a broken and abusive home. Many of the words that were spoken were harsh, negative, and abusive. It affected my self worth, how I viewed relationships, and how I interacted with the world around me.
As a young man there were many times I contemplated suicide, but there were four words that were spoken to me by someone outside my home that left a powerful impact on my life and my spirit. Here’s a little insight into this man.
I’m proud of you
My parents were divorced and my father lived in another state. We didn’t have much of a relationship, if any at all. So there wasn’t a father figure in my home to lead me and speak into my life. I thank God that after I got saved the Lord brought many spiritual fathers into my life, one in particular. His name is Steve, and Steve was a youth sponsor and someone I looked up to.
Every time I saw him he would give me a hug and say four words to me (or some variation of them):
I’m proud of you.
Even after I would give him a hug coming in to church and him telling me, I would hug him again before I left, and he would ask me, “Have I told you I’m proud of you?”
Those four words were enough encouragement to keep a young depressed teenager in a rough home alive and pressing on. Fast-forward fifteen years. When my wife and I moved back home and opened a gym, Steve was one of our clients. Everyday from when he started attending until our business closed he did the same thing. Steve gave me a hug, and uttered those same 4 words, “I’m proud of you.”
While Steve wasn’t my father in the flesh, he was and is a father in the spirit. His words spoke life to my spirit. It drove me to continually want to do and be better. I wanted to honor his view of me.
What you accomplish
These four powerful words should come from the parent, but sometimes, like in my case, they came from a spiritual father.
Your kids will always have their share of critics, but you should not be one of them. Encourage and love them. – John Finch
When you tell your child you are proud of them, you accomplish 5 things in their life.
- Speak life to their spirit
- Increase their self-confidence
- Increase their self-worth
- Strengthen the bond of your relationship
- You inspire them to want to be better
My father-in-law of almost 13 years is another spiritual father, and guess what, he regularly utters those same exact words. They accomplish the same effect. They spur me onward.
These four words were never spoken as a means to bolster pride within me. They were never as a means to praise me for something I did that makes no eternal difference.
They were spoken as an encouragement of life. I was moving in the right direction towards the Lord. I was making positive decisions and taking positive action in life. I wasn’t letting a rough home life make me in to a negative statistic.
I don’t share this as a means to say I needed a pat on the back, but to show you how powerful your words can be. You can change the life of a child, your child.
When they try and fail.
When they succeed.
When they rise above difficult situations.
Most importantly, when they seek Christ’s life above everything else.
Hug them and whisper in their ear four powerful words:
I’m proud of you.
I believe these words reflect the Father’s heart for His children. He desires to spur us on to love and good works (Heb. 10:24). He desires to see us press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14).
Don’t withhold encouragement in the Lord from your children. Speak life into their spirit on every front, and at every opportunity.
When was the last time you told your kids “I’m proud of you?”