6 “Ables” Your Kids Want to Be Called

My kids really enjoy the animated movie Sing 2. They watch it all the time. Maybe you’ve seen it with your family. In the musical, a hardworking gorilla named Johnny tries to learn complicated dance steps for an upcoming performance. Despite trying his best, he struggles and can’t seem to please his overbearing, mostly negative choreographer. During the big show, Johnny slips, and the instructor looks at him disrespectfully and says, “See? You’ll never be great, Johnny.” I hate that part.

It’s amazing how powerful a single word from an authority figure can be. Episode 6 of the All Pro Dad podcast examines the danger of assigning labels to kids. As a parent, your words carry a lot of weight. Your words can become a splint, holding your children up during their weak moments, or a splinter, causing them pain. We want our kids to understand that they don’t have to prove anything to us. They are ours and need to hear what’s true about them regardless of their achievements. Here are 6 “ables” your kids want to be called.

1. Lovable

My dad used to joke that he had kids so he wouldn’t have to mow the lawn. In reality, kids give us someone special to love. There is nothing my kids can do to get me to rescind my love for them. What about your kids? Do they know that? Have you told them? Even if they don’t ask, your kids want to hear this from you. They want your affection. Your love makes them feel whole, safe, and important. In fact, the greatest commandment is to love God and love one another. Telling your kids you love them will build them up in a way compliments can’t.
We want our kids to understand that they don’t have to prove anything to us.

2. Huggable

Don’t just tell them. Show them! Wrap your arms around your kids. You don’t need a reason to hug them. Just do it. Tell them they are huggable, and then give them a squeeze. Getting embraced by Dad can provide encouragement and reassurance for any kid.

3. Admirable

People flock to museums to admire paintings and sculptures. Do you admire your children? Not because they look cool, like a painting, but because they are wonderful and leave you in awe. They have skills, talents, and personalities worth admiring. Tell them!

4. Enjoyable

This “able” tells a child he or she brings you joy. By nature of being primary caregivers to our children we are, in a sense, obligated to be around them. But imagine how special it would feel as a child to hear that your dad wanted to be around you because he enjoyed it so much. That builds our kids’ self-esteem and reminds them they are prized in our eyes.

5. Respectable

You can lose people’s respect because of your character, but you can never lose the baseline respect you deserve by nature of being a human being. We are made in God’s own image and likeness, according to Genesis 1:26–27, which means each person is owed dignity by virtue of being created by God. The hands that molded the moon and stars, mountains, and oceans also formed you in your mother’s womb. Your kids need to know that they’re respectable because God created them. You need to know that, too. All of us have inherent dignity because of God. Remind your kids often.

6. Valuable

Have you ever made something with your own hands? Remember the pride you felt in what you’d created? It had tremendous value to you because you made it. According to Psalm 139:14, your children are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God. That means they have value to him, which means they are of tremendous worth. Tell your kids they have unmatched value, not just to God, but to you and to the world.

Sound off: What “able” were you called as a kid that really stuck with you?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What words do I use that make you feel good about yourself?”