The things we don't say are often, I have found, the most important things to say. Why don't we just say them? I mean, for Heaven's sake, out with it already! I guess I am learning that the reason we don't say them is because we have said them so many times to ourselves we actually don't realize we haven't vocalized them yet.
Parents seem to be the biggest offenders in this situation. Why? Because their kids depend so much on what they think and how they feel. That is how they create their own values and self esteem. Scary as that may seem, think of all of those times you just wanted to hear your mother tell you that she appreciated what you did or dad tell you how proud he is of you. Isn't that the way kids are wired? For better or for worse, parental acknowledgement can lead to a child's success or the lack of which can lead to the child's serious downfall.
I keep in my scriptures a precious treasure. I realize this may be a precarious place to keep a treasure as it has a much higher likelihood of getting lost but I do it for a reason. Several months after my father passed away I was really missing him and found myself asking him out loud if he could see me and if he knew how much I missed him. That very day, if my memory serves me right, I was in church flipping through my scriptures rather inadvertently and came across a yellow sheet of paper. The fact that it was a yellow sheet of paper was significant because I really knew only of one person who used that yellow paper. I slowly opened the folded letter and recognized the handwriting right away, although I was somewhat dumbfounded because my father rarely sent letters and I didn't off hand remember when I received this letter. What I will always remember is how overcome with emotion I was as I read the words "I want you to know that I think you are the best mom there is" and, "Love, your Dad". That wasn't all the note said but it was what I needed to hear. I had to excuse myself from the room as I was so taken with emotion and gratitude that my dad was telling me he was there and he did see me. These sweet words were something my father had never told me face to face. I would never have known he felt this way, yet I often go back and reread these words and I feel all over again the sense of satisfaction in knowing no matter what anyone else thinks, my dad says I am a good mom.
I'm going to try this out this week on my other kids. I am going to make sure that when I have a positive thought about them that I tell them instead of assuming they already know. Imagine the difference in your own life if friends told you more often how much they appreciated the way you listen to them, or if your husband mentioned that he was so glad you respected his choices, or whatever it is that you need to hear from the person whom you need to hear it from. You actually have the chance to change lives with the things you don't say.