“Well, I guess I can’t do anything right.”

I stopped loading the dishwasher and looked at my daughter when I heard her say that. I knew immediately I was the reason she had said it. I had been picking her apart since she got home from school. I had corrected her for at least five different things before we even had dinner.

Well, why didn’t you talk to your teacher about it? You have got to stop being so quiet and ask more questions.
You have got to start reading more if you are ever going to do better in that class.
That is not where your backpack goes.
The stack of clothes I put on your dresser is still sitting there. I told you to put them away this morning.
Please put your phone down. You are on that thing way too much!

Yes, kids need correcting. But on this day, God used what my daughter said to help me understand two things:

Sometimes the heart needs to hear what it’s doing right.

And, correcting is better received in small doses.

Basically, I imagined God asking me this question:

How would you feel if I told you everything you did wrong today all at once?


If God told me everything I did wrong all at once, I would feel like a total failure and probably want to give up on life.  If I thought people only saw the bad, I would feel completely defeated.

Is this how I was making my daughter feel?

Maybe that’s the reason God reveals things to us a little at a time. We would become quickly discouraged and overwhelmed if our eyes were opened to everything that is not right in our lives all at once.

I knew I needed a different plan for helping my daughter. After a brief moment alone seeking how God would want me to respond, this is what I came up with.  As always, His way is working much better than mine.

  1. Encourage – Point out something specific that she is doing well before correcting her. I’m finding that encouragement opens my daughter’s heart and helps her be more accepting of correction.
  2. Focus – Correct what’s most important in that moment, and let the other things go temporarily. Yes, I choose to ignore some behaviors or choices and focus on one thing. I may decide the backpack can wait until later and choose to address her phone usage now.
  3. Ask -Turn statements into questions. Rather than saying, You have got to stop being so quiet and ask more questions, I am asking questions like, What do you think would happen if you asked your teacher about that?

After nineteen years of parenting, I’m still discovering the kind of parent I want to be to my kids and learning how I can do better.

At the end of the day, I want our home to be a place my children want to run to, not away from—a place where they feel loved and encouraged while they learn and grow.The best part is I don’t have to do it alone. God promises to help me every step of the way if I will ask Him.