I write letters to the kids to record all the cute things they do. Here's a bit from a letter I wrote Jo after her first swim lesson in months. She totally blew me away.
Sweet girl, I write all of this down because I wish somehow your adult self could KNOW your four year old self. If you could go back in time and watch yourself at age four, you would have soaring self confidence, deep self love and reverent self respect. That’s partly why I try to record these little moments of every day life—so that as an adult you can be reminded of what an amazing person you are at the root of your life and character. Our favorite thing to do with you is to hop in our big bed, sandwich you in, snuggle you and tell you great things about yourself- what we love about you and how proud of you we are. We talk to each other about what amazing/kind/big girl thing you did that day, and as often as possible, we do it loudly right in front of you. You beam and wiggle with delight when we do this. You so openly accept our praise and encouragement, and you know it for truth. Don’t ever, EVER lose that openness to praise and encouragement. Delight first in God’s acceptance of you, and surely don’t put too much stock in whether others accept you--- but from people who truly love you and want best for you, SOAK UP THE PRAISE AND ACCEPTANCE. Revel in the safety and security of knowing you are loved dearly. Focus on the pride you have in your strengths rather than worry over your shortcomings (especially the superficial or perceived shortcomings). When life throws you a curveball, remember that the same inherent confidence you used to flop wildly into the water and orca-swim to the other side, is in you permanently- and a tool that you can use so long as you just ignore what the other kids are doing and focus on the task at hand. Don't worry too much about doing it wrong. The enthusiasm to TRY is monumentally more important than HOW it looks or WHETHER you SUCCEED. I promise. I love you.