Lessons Learned

I was browsing some of my favorite places in the blogosphere and stumbled upon something that my dear friend Traci wrote up the other day… and I was dumbfounded…

In her piece, “Just Tell Them,” Traci starts off with

“I have heard that there is a movement to have parents avoid telling children they are talented or smart. The theory is that they won’t work as hard if they believe themselves to be these things. And I am left to wonder why does everything have to be so absolute.”

Wait… What? There’s a movement to avoid telling our children positive things? Who the hell thought THAT was a good idea?!?!

I started off by commenting on her work when it struck me that I have way more thoughts on this than can be summed up in a comment… shocking, I know…

For those who know me, you know that I’m not an “Everyone gets a trophy” parent. I don’t give my kids gold stars for every time they successfully blow their nose or tie their shoes. I don’t think that they should win ribbons every time they swim in a meet or run a race. I believe that victories should be celebrated and encouraged… And I believe that the role I’ve signed up for when I birthed these two amazing human beings is a role of cheerleader (among other things).

Parents as Cheerleaders

The world is quick to remind us that we are not always going to be the fastest or smartest or prettiest… but does that make us any less fast, smart or pretty?

And in a world that is quick to condemn, shouldn’t there be someone in our corner cheering us on and encouraging us to capitalize on the talents we possess?

Part of her piece indicates that there is a belief that if we remind our children how talented they are, they will stop striving for better… that it will somehow lead to a loss of work ethic… I’m missing the correlation here… Just because you are good, doesn’t mean that with hard work and determination there can’t be better…

Look, my boys are absolutely amazing {to me} but they aren’t protegees…

They are awesome swimmers… but they aren’t breaking any kind of swimming records… we aren’t Olympics bound…

They are brilliant…. but they aren’t graduating college in their teens…

They are funny and quick witted…. but I’m not signing them up for stand up at Cap City….

I really could go on and on here but I think you get where I’m coming from…

The point is that as parents, yes, we should encourage hard work and dedication… effort above ability sometimes… but what we should never do is stop cheering for our kids.  After all, if we aren’t reminding them how awesome they are, who is?

More than that though, these are the lessons learned that no one is teaching.  Children follow our lead for how to treat others the way we treat them.  They learn how to communicate with others the way that we communicate with them.  And while many of us don’t want to think about the day that our children become parents, they will learn how to raise children the way that we raise them.

For better or worse, you are your child’s first and longest lasting role-model.  THAT is the job you signed up for.  So teach them the lessons you want them to learn by catching them doing good.  Teach them the rewards of hard work by cheering loudly for their passions.  Teach them to try new things by encouraging them.

I guarantee that those lessons will last far longer and serve our kids better than any geometry lesson.  Until of course, their own kids take geometry… but let’s not think about that m’kay?


Want to join in? Check out the prompts for the rest of the month and link up whenever one inspires you!



  1. I loved this post. I definately think we need to be not just role models but a support team to our kids. That means that we are the cheerleaders, the teachers, the coach or whatever we need to be to help our kids to grow up to be strong, happy, responsible adults. Great article.


  2. I have a trophy for you 🙂

    We believe that the words children hear while growing up can shape how they think of themselves, & often what they become.
    I really don’t get this new trend, & I’ve met a few parents who practice it. It makes me quite sad. Children need praise. They need to know that we believe in them.

  3. I am so with you. My kids know when I am disappointed in their choices but they know I am always in their corner. I might not have pompoms but I am their biggest cheerleader.
    Thanks for the shout-out!

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