Focus on the positive, no criticisms whatsoever, and keep at it for 30 days. That’s the goal.

This is what happens when you go to Sunday School after watching too many TED Talks. Are you all tuned into TED Talks yet, by the way? If not, Google it. Life changing.

Anywho, so after watching a three minute TED Talk on 30 day goals, our Sunday School lesson was on parenting. Our fabulous teacher, who not only raised her own 8 children but taught and fostered many troubled youth over the years with inspiring results gave us this food for thought: There is no such thing as constructive criticism especially when it comes to children. All criticism tears down, where praise builds. Find something to praise and watch the results grow.

She, of course, had many personal stories and anecdotes to back up her all-praise all the time methodology, from unruly seminary students turned to Ammon-like missionaries to gang members shedding their old associations to serve the Lord with their whole hearts…she had enough tales to make any mother want to zip her lip when she finds the dishwasher still empty after she told her child repeatedly to load the dirty mmbbzff bfmmmmbz…Sorry I couldn’t finish that last sentence, my lips were zipped.

This is going to be harder than I thought.

Starting today I am going to replace phrases like, “Why do you get distracted so easily?! Just finish your piano practice and be done with it already!” with a more praiseworthy approach like, “I am so happy you are going to practice the piano today. Every time you sit at that piano you just get better and better.”

Instead of, “Why are you so rough with your little brothers? You are always making them cry!” I am going to make it a point to point out every instance when their older sibling is nice to them. “Look how much they love playing with you! You are so great with them!”

I don’t want to mislead you into thinking I’ve been verbally abusing my children something awful until today, but I’d be lying if I said I never exclaimed in exasperation, “Why do you all think I like picking up your dirty underwear off the bathroom floor!! The hamper is RIGHT HERE!!”

No, no, no. The better parent, (the kind I hope to be in 30 days) would say, “How great that you can take your own shower and put on your own clean underwear all by yourself. Did you check the bathroom floor to make sure it’s just as clean as you? Awesome!”

When they loose their shoes, which happens all the mmffbzzzz….sorry, zipped lips, I’ll just tell them what great little detectives they are and how confident I am that they can solve their lost shoe caper. If they don’t feel like waking up for early morning swim team (don’t even get me started on the mmffmmmmbzz….sorry again,) I’ll remind them how proud I am that they’ve battled through the sleepies all summer long and I’ll meet them in the car.

Yes sir, for 30 days I’ll button my lip if a negative thought dares to escape my mouth and I’ll replace it with a positive. And when I see something praiseworthy, wherever I may find it, I’ll praise it out loud instead of just in my head. That is my 30 day challenge. That is my 30 day goal.

This is either going to be a wonderful, life changing experience or my next blog post will read something like,


I’ll let you know in September.