You know how we are often told to turn away negative thoughts and voices that make us question our self-worth and potential? Well, now I am faced with a moral dilemma. On the one hand, I should nurture my children and be a good listener. On the other, I should ignore voices like this:
Grant: Um, Mom, let me look at your teeth… (invasion of personal space) … Your teeth are brown.
Me: What? They’re not brown!
Grant: Yeah, they are. They’re brown.
Clark: Let me look. (in my grill) Oh, yeah. … Maybe the other day at the baseball game some dirt flew in the air and got on your teeth.
Me: (blink, blink, stunned silence.)
Natalie: I wanna look. (3 children on my lap, staring disgustedly at my now-faded smile) Oh.
And you can see that, clearly, I should no longer listen to my children if I want to keep any shred of dignity or warped acceptance of my own appearance.
Elder Marvin J. Ashton said (and I tweaked):
In the world, where there are often voices of pessimism and negative feelings [my children], the voice of gladness is welcome indeed. Some seem to live with doubt, fear of the future, and sorrow for the past [or renewed shame in their less-than-gleaming-white teeth]. If it is our nature to criticize or demean, we can cause the voices of gladness to be silenced [and one’s desire to smile to be eliminated]. We need those who bring gladness into our lives. We need those who give encouragement and reflect optimism.
Sincere yet simple words of praise can lift souls and bring gladness. Mark Twain remarked that he could live two months on one good compliment. In the words of the biblical proverbs of Solomon: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (Prov. 25:11.)
Encouragement can be quick and simple, but it is a voice of gladness that is needed by everyone.
So, I made a few decisions today:
1. Ignore my children.
2. Remember to say nice things to other moms because their children probably sucked all of their self-worth out of them.
3. Call Matt to find out if our Health Savings Account covers any kind of cosmetic dentistry. (I did. It doesn’t.)