This post originally appeared in our November Emersonian newsletter.

Raising up the next generation is not unlike navigating a minefield – so many opportunities for explosive missteps. Do this – but not too much of it. Don’t do that, unless…

One of the most wrought pieces, with endless advice and judgement? Giving praise. We’re supposed to praise a child’s actions, but don’t let them get a big head about it! Praise each child equally, in that endless (and near impossible) balancing act.

How about we just encourage the child? Recognize both their achievements and their struggles – and that they are still growing and tomorrow brings new chances to practice.

And of course, that’s true of all of us at every age and stage – what is the narrative that we’re telling ourselves? Sometimes out loud while children are listening—“Oh, I really messed that up- I am such a klutz.” “I wish I weren’t…”

As we move into this holiday season, let’s try for a little grace – grace to ourselves and to others. Pay attention, and take the time to recognize what is good, what is growth. What we’re truly grateful for. Even if the place settings aren’t perfect, the conversations stilted, the sweet potatoes scorched.

Need a chance to practice praise? Join us for a special worships service November 24th at 11 AM.

Katy Carpman,
Director of Religious Education

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