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We’ve all read the books.

For every negative you point out to your kids, be sure to highlight 10 good things they do. ‘Catch them in the act,’ the experts say.

I do that. Or at least I try.

Sometimes I get distracted with life and before I know it, I’ve missed some prime opportunities to tell my kids that they make me proud and likely won’t end up in prison. Those are the moments I can easily be heard doling out compliments for things they SHOULD be doing anyway: Hitting the toilet, actually running a comb through their hair or finishing ALL of their Pop-Tart.

You ate an entire rectangle of sugar? Good job, boys.

Yesterday was like any other when my youngest son walked off the bus and in to our home with his backpack full of school papers. For weeks, I have been reminding him to work on his penmanship by taking his time when he writes and not rushing through his work.

It was like hitting the handwriting lottery when I came across a spelling list where my 2nd-grader obviously took my annoying advice to heart. There on the page, each and every word had been written carefully and possibly with his tongue sticking out as he concentrated.

He had done it.

Any parent knows that feeling. It’s similar to crossing the finish line. I felt proud. Elated. I immediately remembered to compliment his hard work and shouted his name, high-fiving my boy and saying, ‘This is what I’m talking about! Your writing looks SO good! I knew you could do it!’

He grabbed the spelling list of carefully crafted words, looked back at me and said:

‘That isn’t mine. It’s my friend, Bellas. Wonder how it got mixed in with my stuff?’

And off he went.

photo credit: crimsong19 via photopin cc