Praising someone for the good things they do does more to transform their behavior than pointing out what is wrong. This means pointing out even the smallest bit of good. It means noticing godly character even in our kids.
Sometimes we feel awkward praising our kids. After all, we want kids to do what is right just because it’s right and not because they are given a cheer and a handclap. Yet how are kids going to learn what is right if we don’t make a big deal of it? Even Jesus affirmed others when they did things right.
One of my favorite stories is one that begins in Mark 14. While Jesus was reclining at a table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, and she broke the jar and poured it over Jesus’ head. While some of those who saw it were indignant that she would waste something so valuable, Jesus praised her.
Jesus not only praised her, he also said that her deed would be repeated among others. And I’ve noticed that, while praising my kids means a lot to them, sharing the good things they’ve done with others—like their dad—means even more. When we see the character of God in our kids, we do need to take note of that.