by Ocieanna Fleiss
My friend had won the princess party at an elementary school auction. The best part for her (and the rest of us) was the kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Janway, did all the work.
After arriving to the princess-bedecked home, each little girl was swept into a changing room. As she emerged transformed into her favorite princess, Mrs. Janway oohed and ahhed. “My, aren’t you a stunning Jasmine.” “Is that Snow White? Beautiful!”
Next, the group glided into the living room to introduce themselves. After each princess took her turn, Mrs. Janway said something like, “A pleasure to meet you, Princess Sophia, what a pretty name,” or “You have beautiful blond hair, Princess Julianna.”
I was struck by Mrs. Janway’s constant encouragement of the princesses. When they made crafts, she said, “I like how you put the sparkles on your crown.” They gobbled cake, and she said, “Nice job waiting your turn.” They ventured on a treasure hunt, and she said, “You found it! Good for you.”
Mrs. Janway’s affirmations reminded me of how I felt as a little girl. I hungered for approval, appreciative smiles, affirming words. And this kind-hearted teacher also made me want to shower my kids with love. Too often I offer a distracted nod or insincere smile when my princess runs to me with a crayon drawing of swirly-twirlies or begins one of her long explanations of why she likes purple best over “lello.” Not the way to treat a princess.
Since the party, I’ve been trying to let the praises flow. I look for opportunities, just like Mrs. Janway, and the rewards are great. I’m filled with joy when I see Gabby’s face beam as she receives acceptance only I can provide. But the truth is, no matter how hard I try, I can’t fulfill her longing for complete love and affirmation. Those needs can only be met as she rests in the love of her heavenly Father.
The Lord your God is in your midst. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17 (NASB)
… not just for a little girl’s birthday party, but for a lifetime.