I’m just on my way back home from a gorgeous wedding of close friends, Jake and Ash.
It was lovely to have a few hours away from parenthood as my husband and I danced up a storm and didn’t have any parental responsibility for an afternoon.
But despite being away from my little poppet, I was still thinking about him.
More specifically about the phrase ‘good boy’.
I’ve heard Jenson’s nursery workers use that phrase when praising him for something he’s done and I’ve heard others tell him that he’s a ‘good boy’ for similar circumstances.
But it sticks in my throat when I hear someone say ‘good boy’ to him and it’s not something I say to him when he’s shown skill or kindness or compliance.
Because I want to know that he is intrinsically good.
Regardless of his skill, kindness or compliance with my desires.
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I’ll give him a free pass to do whatever he likes or that I don’t acknowledge what he’s done well.
If he does something out of line, I’ll say ‘that wasn’t nice’ or ‘be gentle please’.
And I say ‘bravo’ (I speak to him in French, this isn’t a reflection of my gentleman’s english!) or ‘bien fait’ – well done when he’s done something well.
I say the behaviour is out of line instead of saying he is out of line for doing something I disapprove of.
And I say the behaviour good instead of telling him he is good for doing something I approve of.
It’s semantics, but I think it’s important nevertheless.
Because I want him to grow up knowing that he is good.
Regardless of what he has done or not done.
Words do not do justice to the strength I feel for these words and the intensity of desire I have for him to know that he is good.
Because I believe this is a foundation – the belief that he is good – which is key for him to stand strong in life.
To feel able to follow his heart instead of hustling for the approval of others.
To not overly question his decisions but to trust his instincts.
To be happy in his own skin knowing that he is ok just as he is.
Part of me thinks ‘is this really important enough for me to raise this with his nursery?’
It’s just semantics.
And it’s not the only thing that will decide whether he has good self-esteem or a knowledge that he is fine as he is.
It’ll be Gregg and I showing him that we love ourselves, trust ourselves, believe we’re intrinsically ok.
It’ll be us respecting him and giving him enough freedom as he makes decisions for himself.
It’ll depend on us engaging in dialogue when he questions our boundaries.
Not to bend to his will, but to show him that he has a voice, is important, is intrinsically worthy of love and respect.
But stopping the ‘good boy’ comments seem like a good start.
And my gut tells me to raise it with his nursery.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, dear friend.