“I’m proud of you,” Thomas said to the young man standing before him. With a look of surprise the young man quietly replied, “Wow. Thank you. Really, thank you. I’ve never… No one’s ever said that to me before.” The pain of never having heard those words was evident in his eyes and in his voice. It was a very sad moment.
At 21 years old, this young, intelligent, determined, well-behaved young man had never heard anyone say that they were proud of him. Why not? Perhaps no one felt that it was important? Maybe for some reason they weren’t proud of all of his accomplishments and therefore had no reason to say it?
Whatever the case may be, this young man was obviously hurt by the failure of others to recognize all the wonderful things that he had done with his life. It was easy to see that he questioned why and wondered what he had done or not done to deserve their praise.
In life, we’re naturally more quick to see the bad than we are the good. It’s as though we are driven by the negative forces around us – bad news, family issues, financial problems, disobedient kids, etc. Unlike the positive sides of life, these things require problem solving and life adjustments. Therefore, that is where our focus goes. In the meantime, everything good is deemed (sometimes unintentionally) as less important.
In the middle of all the bad news, is good news. In the midst of family issues, are memorable and happy moments. When the kids aren’t being disobedient, they are reaching new milestones, learning new concepts and creating great things.
But, we don’t see that. Instead, we pace the house, pull our hair out and climb the walls trying to figure out how to fix everything that is wrong, while forgetting everything that is right. Wonderful things happen all the time. We shouldn’t let the issues of life blind us from seeing them.
Without a doubt, the young man mentioned above made mistakes. We all do. However, in the middle of it all, he still managed to accomplish a lot – plenty to be proud of – and grew into an amazing young man. That is where the focus should be and the people around him should be proud.
“I’m proud of you.” It only takes a moment to say, but its impact lasts a lifetime. Likewise, so does the impact of not saying it.
So take a moment – one very important moment – and tell someone you are proud of them.