(this is a repost written 3/2009)
Recently, I began exercising again (since the birth of our ninth child, gravity has hit me pretty hard). I try to do this in the early morning so as not to bother the family, and to get through it without any little ʻhelpersʼ who like to climb onto my aerobic step and watch the show.
A few days ago, however, the four youngest (minus the baby) all came down to the basement before I was finished with my video. They were quite astonished to see me exercising (it has not occurred much in their life times)! Then they began to copy and do it with me (on the step, of course). As the video proceeded, the instructor began to make positive comments, such as, “Great job!” “Iʼm proud of you!” “Youʼre doing it!” “Keep it up, youʼre almost through!” “Just do your best.” Suddenly my 7 year-old looked perplexed. “Mommy,” she asked, “Can they see you?”
Up until that point, I had not thought about how odd such comments are. Of course the instructors on video tapes cannot see me! And yet, I was soaking in all those positive comments and really needing and believing them. “Yes!” I would think to myself, “I CAN do this, I AM making progress!” Funny thing, those positive comments really keep me going during a workout. I need to hear them!
I started to think about my children. More often than not, I am making not-so- positive comments. This I do to fulfill my role as the teacher, trainer and molder of these young ones. Many times I say, “Pick up your back pack and put it away!” “Do your homework,” “Why didnʼt you practice already?” and so on. These phrases may seem somewhat necessary, but they certainly are not very motivating.
What if my video instructor was saying, “Your abs need work!” “Why arenʼt you keeping up with me?” “Have you drunk 8-10 cups of water today?” I donʼt think those kinds of comments would motivate me at all. I am going to try harder to use positive talk with my children. We all need that.
Iʼm sure it works on husbands too! Joseph Smith said, ”When a man is borne down with trouble, when he is perplexed with care and difficulty, if he can meet with a smile instead of an argument or a murmur - if he can meet with mildness, it will calm down his soul and soothe his feelings. . .never give a cross or unkind word to your husbands, but let kindness, charity and love crown your works. . .“
Finally, the great “Instructor” from on High, our Savior, surely CAN see us, though we CANNOT see Him. This is for a wise purpose. However, we can be sure that from His vantage point He is cheering us on. He has gone before us and showed us the way. As we stumble along, trying to keep up with his faultless example, we only have to listen and then we can hear,” Great Job! Iʼm proud of you! Keep it up, youʼre doing youʼre best!”
I alway wanted to be a cheerleader in high school. Now is my chance! We should all tap into our “inner cheerleader” and make sure that truthful, positive comments are the majority of what we say to others. After all, weʼre all just doing our best to get back into “heavenly” shape.