You know which children’s books are my favorite? The ones that inspire, uplift, and empower kids.
As my wife fed our daughter her bottle before bedtime the other night, I picked up a book that my friend and mentor, Preston, had bought for her: Dear Girl.Each page of this book serves up reminders and messages of positivity, self-love, and kindness. Now, my daughter is only 3 months old, but it doesn’t hurt to start infiltrating her brain with messaging that might make her feel better about herself, right?
I sat and read her the entire book with a smile on my face. Then, as I put the book away on her bookshelf, my eyes scanned the rest of her children’s book collection. As it turns out, the vast majority of these children’s books were written with a similar goal in mind: encouraging the kids that read them (or those that have their parent read it to them, since they’re only 3 months old and don’t know what the English language is just yet).
This realization of mine will likely be met with a collective, “No shit, Nick.” I’d be an idiot to not anticipate such a saucy response.
It’s not a mystery that children’s books are written with the intent of helping our kids grow into superstar human beings. The messaging—subliminal or not—is meant to stir up confidence in the kids that encounter these short stories (side note: the fact that these things go for $15-20 for a story that’s like 27 words long is amazing). And any parent that is doing their job and wants the best for their kid would be crazy to not be a fan of these feel good tales.
But the insight that came just after the one involving the uplifting tone of children’s books is the real reason we’re here today:
Why is it that we all want to inspire and uplift our kids, but some turn a blind eye to doing that kind of work on themselves?
I’ve been moving and shaking through the world of personal development for a few years now, and the amount of eye rolls I’ve received over my choice of literature would make me a rich man if such a thing were currency. Not many people want to hear about my takeaways from Jon Acuff’s Finish or Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s The ONE Thing, but will willingly swap stories about the latest children’s book they bought to spark their kids imagination of all they can accomplish.
Why is there a disconnect here?
Why do some parents want to bolster their kid’s confidence, but couldn’t care less about their own?
Why do some parents wish their children honored their uniqueness, but are scared to be unique themselves?
Why do some parents see the value of telling their kids to be kind, but flip off someone who cuts them off…while their kid’s sitting in the back seat?
The books won’t do much of anything if the adult in the situation isn’t showcasing the principles from their pages with real life examples.
You want your kid to play nice? Be nice. No book will instruct them better.
You want your child to be respectful? Show them what that looks like.
You want your offspring to be trustworthy? Teach them why trust is so important.
And the best way to get better at these principles is to work on yourself on a regular basis. It doesn’t require hours of study and diligence. It just means that, as a parent, you should prioritize your own personal development so that you can allow it to trickle down to your children.
Don’t preach what you’re not practicing, my friends. Your kids will see right through the books that you read them and the encouraging words they contain.
Better humans make better parents, don’t you think?
Work on yourself first and let the stories follow.
Thanks for reading,