Yesterday morning as I was dropping off the girls at daycare, another mom was bringing her son as well. I was in a rush but the princesses never let me leave without our daily routine of hugs and kisses in front of their friends. As I walked back to the car, the mom was taking her little boy out of his car seat. He toddled out of the car slowly - or as fast as his wobbly legs could carry him. I could that she was in a hurry; surely late for work like me. So what I witnessed just warmed my heart. She stroked his blonde mop and said "Come along, little champ!"
No irritation or annoyance in her voice. Just sweet, sweet love!
It got me thinking... What are we as parents speaking over our children? People often ask Kgabo and I what the motivation behind our daughters' names are. It's one of my favourite things to share because we prayerfully chose names that are declarations over them. We know that each someone says Mackenzie, they're affirming that she's born and purified by fire. A warrior princess who we trust will stand anything with the strength Christ gives her. Mickaela is a reminder that there is NO ONE like our God. She's a banner of God's faithfulness. Our little miracle. Makeida's beautiful, contagious smile that resonates all the way into her eyes, leaves you with no choice but proclaim that she is indeed God's vessel!
Sometimes I chuckle because we've been asked why we couldn't name them African names with the same meanings. The answer is always the same: these are the names we like! The ones God gave us. We deliberately gave them one name each so we never stray from affirming their meanings. Recently, a pastor friend of ours shared a message at a wedding. He reminded us that when a man and woman unite, they are starting their own tribe. I remember that same word at our own wedding. Half the time, Kgabo and I do things that rock the cultural norm. We're Christians first before we're anything else.
Back to the "little champ". I imagine that small guy doesn't walk on his bath water or have wings, but his mom thinks he's just awesome! And that's how we should encourage these treasures we've been entrusted with. Our society will certainly be different when people feel loved and validated. As cute as it sounds - and I'm guilty of it too - your children would better benefit from you calling them "champ" or "a delight and joy" or "hero" than a food item! I cringed once when I heard a teacher refer to my baby as her "thingie". I quickly put her in her place. And we also don't allow people (even our parents and siblings) to call our girls "naughty or stout". We're raising our children to grow up to be Christlike so such words aren't building them up. That doesn't mean the girls are always on their best behaviour, but we don't label them either.
So just as God calls me "overcomer", "friend", "strong" and "beloved", I also choose to shower our children with words of affirmation and encouragement.