Life is fast these days. The hectic pace can be stressful, and sometimes parents and children alike can get impatient and maybe even snippy. This sure was true for us.
As parents of young kids, we often felt burdened by the logistics of making life work and solving all the problems that arose. We struggled to notice what went well, or connect joyfully with our kids. We were often discouraged, in spite of our good intentions to bring encouragement and joy into our home. We wish we’d have seen back then this delightful 1 minute video of a young boy learning how to ride a bike:
Or the 90 second music mash-up of the same video:
We started playing this video repeatedly with our young adult kids when it first came out in 2011. We enjoyed the videos so much they became part of our family culture. When someone felt good about something they had done, that person would often comment – “I feel so happy of myself!!” And if we were together, we would spontaneously sing phrases from the song for each other for little accomplishments along the way.
Then it occurred to us that the phrase “happy of myself” is a great description of the God-given joy of walking in our gifts, working hard at something, conquering a challenge, or being a blessing to someone.
Once when I was with my delightful niece and nephews, I (Lynne) asked them all to answer the question – “From the last few months, what is something you are ‘happy of yourself’ about?” We went around the circle, and their answers were fun and varied, and full of joy. I occasionally asked questions like, “How were you able to accomplish that?” or “What was the impact of that?” to dig a little deeper, and give them insights into their accomplishments that would strengthen that skill or value.
To build a more encouraging momentum in your home, you can share these videos with your kids and ask, “What is something that you are ‘happy of yourself’ about?” In case they get stuck, have a few things in mind that you’ve noticed them doing well. Just talking about what they’ve accomplished will strengthen that accomplishment and increase the likelihood it will happen again.
Don’t forget to ask yourself frequently – what parenting moment am I happy of myself about? There are many things you are doing well as a parent, so stop and encourage yourself, even out loud. “I feel happy of myself that I calmed down and asked you a question instead of yelling.” “I feel happy of myself that I stopped doing dishes and snuggled with you, because that was most important.” Your self-encouragement will help you do those things more often, and is also a great example to your kids!
So whether “What are you happy of yourself about?” becomes a dinner or bedtime routine, or simply when you think of it, it can help you bring joy to your family as you gradually build a culture of encouragement!
Share with your friends to help them build joy in their home!
We all have parenting strengths and weaknesses. Take 10 to 15 minutes to find out yours with our free parenting assessment.