Creative Child

How to Celebrate Your Child in the Ordinary Everyday

by Rebecca Eanes

I recently saw a clip on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Dr. Shefali Tsabary that spoke to my heart. Dr. Tsabary says we are trained to only celebrate our children when they are accomplishing something grand, and we gloss over the everyday moments such as when they tie their laces, helping them brush their teeth, and when they get up in the morning. She says, “It is all these moment-to-moment instances that call for connections.”


I began to think about how often I celebrate my children. When do I celebrate them and why? When do you? I, too, am guilty of celebrating them mostly in moments of achievement and glossing over the ordinary moments that occur in our everyday life. Each human being desires to be seen, known, and celebrated not for what we accomplish, but for who we are. Our children need to know that they matter, and that we still celebrate them, even when they lose the game, bring home a D+, leave their towels on the floor, or need help with simple tasks.


My son brought home a math paper with a bad grade on it last week. I was irritated with him because it wasn’t a hard math sheet. He knew how to do it; he just rushed through without working the problems out on paper. I said, “I need you to do better than this.” He replied, “But mom, you said in your book that I am more than a grade.”

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It’s true. There is a quote in Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide that says, “Children are more than their ability to sleep through the night. They are more than their willingness to instantly obey. They are more than a grade. They are more than a mood. They are more than they display at any given moment, more than what we see on the surface. They are human beings. Messy and beautiful, wild and compassionate, and worth getting to know, not just getting to mind.”


In hindsight, I shouldn’t have said, “I need you to do better than this” point blank. I could have used a more positive approach and asked what he needed help with in a gentler manner. I did offer to sit down with him and work though the problems he missed, but he was already defensive by that point. That’s okay though! We are all allowed mistakes, and we are all learning every day.

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Sometimes I forget what Dr. Gordon Neufeld said in his book, Hold On To Your Kids. “Children do not experience our intentions, no matter how heartfelt. They experience what we manifest in tone and behavior.” Yes, I feel love for them at all times, not just when they are achieving greatness, but what are they perceiving? What are they feeling from me? If I only show approval when they excel and disapproval when they fail, what is the message they are getting? Do my children feel like they need to work for my approval? These are questions worth asking ourselves regularly because it’s so easy to default to old patterns and paradigms.

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