Give Them Plenty Of These

Queen Elizabeth has a strange job. What does she do exactly? It’s hard to say. It’s easier to describe all the things she doesn’t do. She doesn’t pass laws. She doesn’t choose elected leaders. She doesn’t voice her opinion.

She does give out a lot of awards though. Like, literally hundreds of thousands of them over the course of her 69-year reign. “People need pats on the back sometimes,” she once said. “It’s a very dingy world otherwise.”

Very true.

Nobody needs a pat on the back more than your kids…and there’s nobody they’d rather get it from than you. An attendance award from elementary school? A varsity letter in high school? A scholarship to college? These things are great, but they all fade into memory. When a father tells his child how proud he is, on some random Wednesday night on the drive home from a hard practice or a good game or a less-than-great performance in the school play—that moment can last a lifetime. It can be formative—for each of them, for their relationship, and for the child’s future relationship with their kids.

Take an extra beat today to let your kids know that you’re proud of them. Let them know how great they are. Let them know what’s special about them. Give them a pat on the back.

Don’t wait. Don’t assume they know. Don’t let their rolled eyes or their “yeah yeah yeah” deter you. Tell them. Don’t just be a fan, as we’ve talked about, be a cheerleader. Be the loudest fan. Recognize them. While you still can. While it will still make a difference.

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