My name is Emily, and I am a people pleaser.

Until I had a daughter who looked up to and mimicked me, I never saw the problem with this. But when I saw her begin to take on this trait, I wanted to ensure she knew she didn’t have to please people. I wanted her to know she is strong and able to hold on to her innate kindheartedness and warmth.

My desire to raise someone who understands the importance of and balance between kindness and strength became apparent when I watched her handle a situation with another child. As she was playing at the park one day, another child came over and started to disrupt her game. She politely told him to stop because she was playing with her little brother. The boy didn’t acknowledge her and continued to mess with her. She tried again, this time a little firmer, while still using her manners. She knew she had the strength to stand up for herself, and she also knew she didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or be mean.

I was proud she continued to use her manners and was polite. I was proud she stuck up for herself and made her position known. I could see how part of her wanted to let the boy meddle because she didn’t want to upset him. But I saw an even stronger part of her stick up for herself without being rude or unkind.

How do we find balance? How do we teach our children to remain kind and loving, while also strong and courageous? Can these traits go together?

Finding balance is an important part of parenting. We find balance between the emotions of sadness because our kids are growing so fast, and excitement that we get to see them grow, learn, and thrive. We find balance between wanting to help, take care of, and keep them close, all while finding ways for them to learn responsibility so they’ll become effective adults. We find balance between teaching them to be kind and loving toward one another, and being able to stand up for themselves and their beliefs.

I want our children to know the world needs more kind people. We need to raise more people who are loving and show Jesus’ love everywhere they go. But we also need a generation of strong, brave, and courageous people who stick up for their beliefs, and who won’t be pushed around or fall into a people-pleasing trap. We want them to know their voices are heard and that no one can take their voices away.

These traits can absolutely go together. When we are loving and kind, we can also be strong and powerful. Our five-year-old can be polite as she tells another child she would like to play alone with her little brother. She can be kind to all the kids at school and find ways to show love to everyone, without being a pushover or people-pleaser.

The first step is for them to see it in their parents. I can model how to treat everyone with kindness, while also standing firm in who I am and what I believe. I can model the strengths of kindness and courage. I can take advantage of the everyday moments when I can live this out for my kids to see. I can teach and model empathy, manners, hospitality, love, and kindheartedness. As a family, we can find ways to reach out to others with warmth, concern, and blessings–without falling into a people-pleasing life.

This all starts at home, continues to grow on the playground, and fully matures in adulthood. We can be kind and strong. We can raise a generation that understands the importance of love, kindness, empathy, courage, and strength. Just think of what a great generation we have the opportunity to raise.

 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Emily Scott

Emily Scott, PhD, is a stay at home mom of three, and part time parenting consultant and blogger who has written and spoken on various parenting topics including child development, ACEs, and tips on raising responsible kids. 

My Child with Special Needs Made His Own Way in His Own Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding child's hand walking across street

I want to tell you the story of a little boy who came to live with me when he was three years old. Some of you may find this story familiar in your own life. Your little boy or girl may have grown inside you and shares your DNA or maybe they came into your life much older than three. This little boy, this special child, my precious gift has special needs. Just five short years ago, he was a bit mean and angry, he said few understandable words, and there was a lot about this world he didn’t understand. Unless...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter as You Grow into Yourself

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Girl in hat and dress-up clothes, color photo

My daughter, I watched you stand in front of the mirror, turning your body left and right. Your skirt was too big and your top on backward. Your bright blue eyeshadow reached your eyebrows and bold red blush went up to your ears. You didn’t care. I watched you marvel at your body, feeling completely at ease in your skin. You turned and admired yourself with pride. You don’t see imperfections. You don’t see things you are lacking. You see goodness. You see strength. RELATED: Daughter, When You Look in the Mirror, This is What I Hope You See I’m...

Keep Reading

Organized Sports Aren’t Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young girl with Alpaca, color photo

Today I watched my little girl walk an alpaca. His name is Captain. Captain is her favorite. He’s my favorite too. I met his owner on Instagram of all places. She thought I was in college; I thought she was a middle-aged woman. Turns out, she is in high school, and I am a middle-aged woman. This random meeting led to a blessing. We call it “llama lessons.” We take llama lessons every other week. It’s an hour away on the cutest hobby farm. Our “teacher” is Flora, who boards her llamas at the alpaca farm. She wants to teach...

Keep Reading

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading