Monday, September 12, 2011

Kind. Smart. Important.

Two weeks ago a friend of mine and I went to see The Help.  If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, do so. It was a great movie.  The Help is the story of an aspiring author who decides to write a book from the African American Maid's point of view in the 1960's.  The characters were inspiring.  I appreciated their stories, their frustrations, their challenges, and their successes.

One of the things that struck me from the get go was what one of the maids (Aibileen) says to her little charge.  She started her morning routine with telling the little girl: "You are kind. You are smart. You are important."

Of all the messages shared by the movie, this is one that hit home.  (Again, it goes back to my love language of affirmation.)  But isn't Aibileen's message to Mae Mobley also a reflection of how "The Help" is viewed by their employers?  That They aren't smart or important? Isn't it interesting that Aibileen tells the little girl that she is kind first?  To be kind is the most important trait?

How often are we told something positive about us? How often do we share something positive about another person?  As a mother I want my children to know that I love and appreciate them. I want them to know that I'll always be there for them and that they are never a burden to me. Granted, there are days that I become frustrated and there are days that I wish I had a little "me" time. I think that's normal. There's never a day that I wish I was working.  But I know that if I was working outside the home, I would be wishing that I could be home with my kids every single day.

I decided to follow Aibileen's cue and tell my kids that they are "kind, smart, and important." I've also decided to add, "God loves you and so does Mommy and Daddy."  How's that for affirmation?


  1. Jeremiah was just reading a study about telling your kid that they are smart versus telling them that they worked hard. (ie. Look at your homework grade! Nice one- you are so smart! vs. Look at your homework grade! Nice one- you really worked hard!) Those that got positive reinforcement for working hard continued to do so and thus got better and better at stuff. Those that were told that they are smart would be proud when they did well but very frustrated when they did not and they would quit because not doing well obviously meant that that task wasn't for them. Also, those who were told that they were smart were less likely to try very hard at tests because they assumed they had done well because they were smart, only to find out that they hadn't but they might have if they had tried harder.

    This hits home with Jeremiah and I. One of us gives up easily and was told how smart he was all the time. The other totally expects things to be hard and knows it has nothing to do with how smart I am!

    But that doesn't mean a kid shouldn't hear these things.