I shower my children with praise and encouragement every chance I get. Why? Not to puff them up—humility is a great virtue I hope to instill in my kids as well as confidence—but rather to point them up to their Heavenly Father, the One who created them and is doing a good work in their lives (Philippians 1:6).
Here are five of the best biblically sound compliments we parents can give our children.
1. God made you beautiful (handsome).
The world will tell our children that beauty is paramount, yet only a certain type of worldly beauty is celebrated. God, on the other hand, creates every person unique and beautiful in their own God-given right. We are all made in the image of God; therefore, we are all more beautiful than we can possibly fathom. Let’s reinforce this truth by tying God into the story every time we encourage our children’s physical and inner attributes. “God made you beautiful; God made you smart.” He is the Creator of you, His masterpiece. And His is a lasting beauty that does not fade with time.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)
2. You are using your gifts for God’s glory.
All talents and abilities are granted by God, and it pleases Him when we use those gifts to serve Him. Maybe your child is great at scoring points in basketball. Does he also use his skills as an opportunity to encourage and lead his teammates? The gifts alone could be used for evil or for good. We make them complete when we use them for God’s glory. So when you see that happening in your child’s life, point it out, and affirm it.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
3. You made a wise choice.
Wisdom and obedience go hand in hand, and what parent doesn’t desperately want both for their children? As our kids grow and learn more about what God desires for their lives, they will also learn how to apply God’s wisdom to their own decision making. They will stumble sometimes, as we all do. But that’s all the more reason to call attention to those times when our kids make the right choice. Reward them for wisdom and, ideally, they will desire more wisdom.
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6)
4. I see God’s light shining in you.
If the goal of the Christian life is to be more like Christ, then let’s celebrate our kids when they act like Jesus. When they’re kind to an unkind person, when they share or help someone selflessly, when they tell others about the gospel and when they show love to people who are lost—whatever we see in them that reflects Christ-like character is worthy of our affirmation. To display the heart of Jesus is a high compliment for the Christian. And by pointing it out, our kids will learn more and more what types of behaviors are tied to God’s character. And hopefully, they’ll want to do more of it.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
5. Your faith inspires me.
There will come a time when the student becomes like the teacher (Luke 6:40) and our children will teach us a thing or two about faith. Embrace those moments as wonderful opportunities to affirm your child’s belief and obedience. And, while you’re at it, give yourself a little pat on the back because, while God ultimately determines who your child will become, to see them living out the faith you’ve poured into them day after day is a mighty rewarding moment for any believing parent. Enjoy it as a gift from God. Because you are His child, too.
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1–2)