You is Smart. You is Kind. You is important. And, you CAN!
Let me start with this. You is smart. What am I talking about? A few weeks ago I was watching a movie called, “The Help.” (Yes with a family of 11 it takes me years before I can watch anything). My comments are not about the bigger story of Civil Rights. No, the impact that the movie had on me was with when Miss Aibileen is fired and has to leave her position. As she turns to leave tells the little Mae Mobley, “Remember what I taught you? You is Smart. You is Kind. You is Important.”
That directly punched me in the gut. I thought I wonder if my children know that this is what I pray for them every day, but I rarely say it! The following day I did a quick experiment while I was swimming with one of my daughters. I swam over to her, and I told her that she was beautiful. Instantly she said, “no! Not me. Nope.” My heart sank! She pulled away and started swimming in a different direction.
I swam after her. I pulled her back towards me and said, “You is smart.” She again refused that and dove underneath me and sat on the bottom of the pool. My heart sank a little more. I dove down and sat by her. She then kicked off the bottom and up to the surface. I swam after her. I once again pulled her in and then I said, “You is kind.” She said, “sometimes.” My eyes then locked with hers with this tiny bit of acceptance and I said, “You is important!” She held my gaze and did not wave that off, so I grabbed the full opportunity and said, “And you CAN!” She slightly turned her head away from me but checked back in.
My daughter had no idea that that is how I think of her. It made me catch my breath. In that instant I had a choice to make: 1) to push through my pain and guilt to help my kids to know their value, or 2) to start beating myself up over what opportunities I have missed. In that breath, I chose to push through my guilt and pain. I looked at her and repeated, “You is smart. You is Kind. You is Important. And, you CAN!” She stopped swimming and just stood in the pool as the ripples bounced light and water around us.
She asked, “why are you telling me this?” I responded, “Because you need to know your worth. You need to know your value. And, you need to know that I love you.” She smiled and dove beneath the clear water again turning circles and circles around me. She swam up to me and gave me a bone-crushing hug and quickly dove back under the water. As she surfaced several feet away she looked back and waved, “I love you.”
Heavenly Father directly answered my prayers to help me know how to teach my children to know their value and worth. He did it through a movie. He did it in a way that I would feel the impact, the importance, and the immediacy that I do this for my children from my babies to my adult kids. From that moment in the pool, I have shared this with all of my children vocally and through text), daily, emphasizing their value, worth and that they CAN do anything. My children are responding because they are learning that “they is, they CAN”, And, they now know their worth. You is smart. You is kind. You is important. And, you CAN!