Yours can be the voice that encourages someonePublished 10:00am Saturday, April 28, 2012
Column: Maryanne Law, Families First
Question: How do we know if we are making a positive impact in our families?
Answer: In the ages and stages of life, being liked is as important as being loved. I’m not sure that there is anything more encouraging than to have somebody really like you. What a pleasure it is to have people who are pleased when we walk into the room, who are glad when we call or who happily anticipate our coming home. Sometimes being liked is the encouragement a parent or grandparent gives a child; sometimes it’s the encouragement a child gives a parent or grandparent. A true treasure is a relationship with a teenage son or daughter that includes shared humor, the honest give-and-take of opinions and the easy introduction to new friends. Take some time to remember the times of “liking” in your own family, whether it was when you were the child or when you were the parent. If those times are easy to recall, you are rich in relationship. If they’re not, there’s still time, with your children or your grandchildren or, maybe, somebody else’s children.
There is a special story of the young man who was a stand-in performer at the Paris Opera House. He was filling in for a singer of great fame, and the theater was packed with people who had come and paid to hear the star tenor. Just before the curtain went up, the announcement was made that the performer was sick and he’d been replaced by a stand-in. Everybody booed. They were disappointed in having to hear the second-string singer, and they made their disappointment heard. As hard as it must have been for the stand-in to walk onto that stage and sing, this unknown name had to do it. He came on stage and faced the restless audience. The singer took a long pause, preparing to sing, when from the balcony, a little boy popped up and declared, “I think you’re doing great, Daddy!” The house broke up and from then on the audience listened attentively to this unknown singer, and when he was finished they applauded him long and loud.
Much of the time the world’s audience fails to encourage. Whether you’re 5, 15, 35, 55 or 85, yours can be the spirit that appreciates and the voice that encourages somebody in your family.
If you would like to talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in child raising, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 877-434-9528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out www.familiesandcommunities.org.
Maryanne Law is the executive director of the Parenting Resource Center in Austin.