We affect every person we meet. We can have a positive impact on others, sometimes so great that it will affect their lives. This is certainly true of the children Hashem has given into our care. There is power in that, but as Peter Parker learned early on, ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’
The positive affect one can have on another, and specifically one’s child, was brought home to me last night as I put my five and a half year old son to sleep.
After saying Shema and going through our nightly thankyou’s to Hashem, I was talking to him, and I told him that I am very proud of him. I just had this general feeling from the day that made me say that, it was nothing in particular. He gave me a look that I couldn’t read, and I wondered to myself if I had perhaps said something that was wrong. So I asked him if he liked it when I said I was proud of him.
He answered, “It feels like I won the game.”
It made me realize how essential my role is as a parent. My child’s self esteem and personal value is currently being built. We don’t realize how powerful the simple words “I am proud of you” are. But they can make or break our child’s confidence in his ability to ‘win the game’ of life.
This idea struck me even deeper as I realized that this doesn’t just hold true for our children but rather for every person we encounter. We can walk away from literally every interaction with a human being, leaving them with a feeling that they can win the game. We also have the free choice do the opposite if we raise the banner of our own pride too high.
Here again, when we act with humility our world is no longer limited to our small selfish reality, but it is expanded and continues to expand ever outward, lifting those around us along with the entire world.