Last night I noticed that the kitchen garbage was empty. And I smiled to myself, because I knew my son had taken it out without being told. Duly noted, I hadn't mentioned it to my son, but he made sure to bring it up today. And it gave me such a great opportunity to affirm him. "I know you don't like me calling you a 'young man,' but it's a mark of becoming a man to see a need and take the initiative to take care of it without being told." He said, "thanks," in a way that let me know, maybe he didn't mind the "young man" status so much.
"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1.
I think as mothers that we have to be watchful for opportunities like these. It's so easy to focus on the times kids don't do what they're told or that they have to be told...that we can miss the fact that they are young, growing persons who need to be affirmed, who need to see what it is to be a man or a woman, who need to be respected for their growth and not torn down for their failures. They need to know they can make us smile and make us proud.