Emphasizing Encouragement

28 Jul


Dear Readers,

Happy Monday!

Last week, my blog focus was complimenting our children using proven research guidelines.  For the next few days, I will concentrate on the effects of criticism on our children.

I look forward to your comments as I summarize the research.

Wishing all of you a great week!

Cate Pane

20 Compliments for Kids from My Readers

26 Jul



I am so very grateful for the additional praise examples submitted by my readers yesterday!  As I mentioned, research guidelines from my previous post,  Writing What I Know:  Praising My Childhood Roots, were the standards for verbal reinforcement.  The following is our final list, including the newest submissions at the top.

  1. If there’s anyone I love more than you, it’s you. – Design College Chick
  2. Never allow another person to question your worth. - One Gentleman’s Perspective (Numbers 2-8, 15)
  3. It is impossible to disappoint me if you do your best.
  4. Always remember, I love you even more, at the times you may not love yourself.
  5. Never consider your “failure(s)” as a weakness, they are only lessons along the road for completing your goals.
  6. You are beautiful, just the way you are.
  7. No one can be a better you, than you. You are the greatest at being you.
  8. My life was made better the moment I saw you.
  9. I’m really glad I get to be your dad.  Art and Life Notes
  10. You see what you can do when you try (skill)? It’s wonderful! – Sensitive and Extraordinary Kids (Numbers 10-12)
  11. I love you more than the whole world and the whole universe, times a million, billion, gazillion (and a bunch of other silly words that don’t exist)!
  12. You make us so proud (when you “_____”!”
  13. You are a precious gift from God.  -  atimetoshare
  14. Thank you for being you. –  Pretend to Be Nice
  15. (Enter act here) was very polite/thoughtful of you BECAUSE… - Pretend to Be Nice
  16. I liked the way you (name kind deed) when no one was looking.  Donna D., Devoted reader :-)
  17. You were so brave when you (“act” especially for girls).  Diapers and Tutus
  18. You’ve improved a lot in (over time period x/ in this skill). You can do (skill) better now. - Journeys of the Fabulist
  19. No matter what goal you imagine, it is possible. As long as you believe in you, I believe in you. - One Gentleman’s Perspective
  20. I’m glad you’re my child. - Black Women Have It Going On

I promised April from Diapers and Tutus that I would pass along some of my previous posts on the subject of praise and the difficulties associated with calling our kids “smart.” Here they are:

How to Best Praise Your Child

The Joy of a Growth Mindset for Children and Writers

21. Thank you readers, for taking the time to craft appropriate compliment examples for all of us! :-)

Happy summer weekend,

Cate Pane


My Readers’ List of Compliments for Kids

25 Jul

happychildhood I was thrilled to receive a great response of appropriate compliments for children submitted by my readers! Please feel free to comment with additional ideas, if you wish.  Please use the research guidelines from my previous post, Writing What I Know:  Praising My Childhood Roots. Here are the submissions, thus far:

  1. You are a precious gift from God.  -  atimetoshare
  2. Thank you for being you. –  Pretend to Be Nice
  3. (Enter act here) was very polite/thoughtful of you BECAUSE… - Pretend to Be Nice
  4. I liked the way you (name kind deed) when no one was looking.  Donna D., Devoted reader :-)
  5. You were so brave when you (“act” especially for girls).  Diapers and Tutus
  6. You’ve improved a lot in (over time period x/ in this skill). You can do (skill) better now. - Journeys of the Fabulist
  7. No matter what goal you imagine, it is possible. As long as you believe in you, I believe in you. – One Gentleman’s Perspective
  8. I’m glad you’re my child. – Black Women Have It Going On

I’d love to include at least 2 more!  Please submit any appropriate accolades you have in mind. :-)

Have a great weekend finding special moments to compliment your kids!

Cate Pane


Ten Compliments Kids Need to Hear

24 Jul


Yesterdays post, Writing What I Know:  Praising My Childhood Roots, discussed appropriate praising of our children.  I listed research-based guidelines on healthy, appropriate accolades for children.

Today, I invite my readers to provide input for a “Clear Parent” list of suitable compliments.

I welcome ANY suggestions!

Thank God for Thursday!

Cate Pane

Writing What I Know: Back to Praising My Childhood Roots

23 Jul

Blog Writer

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my writer’s block:  Writing is More Than Getting the Words Right.  My mind and heart were filled with knots that entangled my ability to express myself.

Today, I listened to a TED Talk by Sting.  Its title was very attractive to me:

How I Started Writing Songs Again

This 16 time Grammy Award winner, who has written hundreds of songs and sold more than 100 million albums, found himself stuck in years of writer’s block.  But, when he retraced his childhood roots in the shipyards of northeast England, his songwriting inspiration returned.  In fact, he remarked,

“As soon as I decided to honor the community I came from to tell their story, the songs started to come thick and fast.”

So, Sting sought stories of the shipyard workers from his youth and his missing imagination was restored.

In my own desperate attempt to recover my missing motivation, my mind wandered back in time to my childhood roots.

When I was 4, the joy of kindergarten filled my days with bliss.  I loved the model of old-fashioned kindergarten, back in the days when kids didn’t attend preschool.  Finger painting, playing house, singing songs and napping after a snack of graham crackers and milk was sheer joy. Academics weren’t pushed on young kids in those days.  It was assumed that reading, writing and arithmetic would all be learned in due time.

And they were.

During my kindergarten year, our neighbor, complimented me on one of my painting productions.  To this very day, I can recall the words of Mrs. Price, “Cate, you have an excellent sense of color.”

In those days, praise was meted out very sincerely and carefully.


Mrs. Price was an artist.  She created oil paintings of flowers in vases, among other subjects.  She used intense colors, yellow, orange, red.

When my mom passed away, I chose the painting Mrs. Price gave to my mother in the 60’s.  It was a vase filled with vibrant blossoms in orange, yellow and red.

To this day, the colorful canvas hangs in my living room.  It was my inspiration for decorating the space. It represents the artist who recognized the artist in me.

I’m not a painter.

But, colors are my passion.

Just gazing at beautiful colors inspires me.

So, this leads me to the power of words and compliments.  As a child during the 60’s, praise was bestowed infrequently.

Today, our kids are growing up in a world of praise pollution.  It seems we praise them at every turn for every imaginable accomplishment. Guess what?  It isn’t helping their self-esteem.

It’s as if every one of their actions are graded.

Henderlong and Lepper analyzed 30 years of praise research and found these important guidelines:

  • Sincere and specific praise is best.
  • Kids should only be praised for characteristics they are able to change.
  • Use descriptive praise that conveys realistic, attainable standards.
  • Praising kids about accomplishments that come easily needn’t be a focus.
  • It is not very important to praise kids for engaging in activities they love.
  • Best to encourage kids to pursue their personal best, rather than comparing themselves to peers.


Returning to my childhood roots reconnected me with a hidden part of myself, the colorful place in my heart that never grows tired of the cornucopia of colorful creation surrounding me.

Mrs. Price’s comment permanently and positively impacted me.

Today, I recognize the praise given to me as a kindergartener by my childhood artist neighbor.

Thank you, Mrs. Price.  You have reminded me of the power of praise when awarded appropriately.  You also enabled me to find my missing muse.

I am looking forward to praising less and listening more.  I believe that our parental instincts know when we need to acknowledge our children. Let’s go back to our roots and remember the permanent impact of accolades acquired during our childhood days.

Let’s clear the air of excessive praise so that our children can clearly see the acknowledgement of attributes that will stay with them when they are old enough to go back to their own childhood roots.

The memories may inspire them to greatness, having a clear sense of self.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Cate Pane


Model Kindness for Your Children

21 Jul


When we speak of kindness to our children, our actions have the greatest impact.  In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that my kids are my greatest critics on this subject.  A week ago, my younger son “nailed” the evening of his birthday celebration at a restaurant.  I commented that I thought it was so very sad that a mother was spending her dinner time reviewing flashcards with her 2 preschoolers.

As we made our way to the parking lot after a wonderful birthday celebration, Michael mentioned that he didn’t think it was right for me to criticize the woman with the flashcards.

He was right.  It was none of my business.  We are all entitled to raise our kids the way we choose.

Lesson learned.


Happy Monday,

Cate Pane


Kindness Always

19 Jul





A Heroine for Our Times

18 Jul

Kenon Neal

This week, a champion of courage left this world to enter an eternal life of Perfect Peace.

We met in a Moms in Touch prayer group five years ago. The radiant smile I encountered on that September morning is forever emblazoned in my mind’s eye. At the time, I was unaware of her decades long battles with cancer.  She always put love before her own struggles.

This noble, faithful woman, along with the other members of the moms group helped me to heal from a very painful period in my family’s history.

And in the past few months, her inspirational journal entries on Caring Bridge injected doses of determination during another extremely challenging chapter in our lives.  As I read her words, my heart would swell with both sadness for struggles and immense admiration for her bravery in the face of multitudinous medical procedures and a terminal diagnosis.

In the world of cancer, “Stage 4” is typically known as the phase of “distant spread” of cancer cells throughout the body.

For this heroine, it was the period of her life when her tremendous valor spread far and wide and transformed greater and greater numbers of people.

Although we were never close friends, she gave me the gift of a role model of faith and fortitude and helped to give me the strength to persevere.

She didn’t know it at the time.

I am sure she knows it now, as in the words of Matt Redman, she “sings His praises, ten-thousand years and forever more.”

This “heroine for our times” will live forever in our hearts and minds as an otherworldly example of what cancer and other formidable challenges cannot do.

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

~Author Unknown

May she rest in His Peace,

Cate Pane

Note:  This amazing woman leaves behind a beloved family:  her husband, two sons and a daughter.  Please keep them in prayer.

“The Memory of Joy in Present Grief” and Our Gretchen

15 Jul

GretchenNumerous posts of mine have addressed the psychological, emotional and health benefits children (and adults) receive when pets are a member of the family.

Reading this post today, The Memory of Joy in Present Grief, reminded me of our family dog who was put to sleep when I was in college. When Gretchen passed, she carried with her a multitude of memories from my childhood.

Our hearts grow bigger when we receive the unconditional love of an animal.  During my early years, our beautiful dog was truly my best friend. Gretchen made the painful parts of my childhood bearable.  Conversely, she made my joyful moments more jubilant.

I can remember her licking the tears from my cheeks when I cried.

I can remember her running in “figure 8’s” on the front lawn when I clapped my hands in excitement.

I can remember running with her and feeling complete and utter abandonment.

I strongly encourage you to read the post written by MacKenzie Kincaid linked here and above. If you are a “dog person,” you’d better get the tissues ready first…

Please share any memories of your beloved “best friends” you may have.

Cate Pane

Time Will Tell

14 Jul



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