That everything my kids do or create is a brilliant masterpiece of wonderfulness.
I know what my kids are capable of, so I refuse to stand in rousing applause each time they press crayon to paper or run across the soccer field in the wrong direction.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not going all Crouching Tiger, Hidden Piano Mom on my kids. I'm supportive and encouraging and appreciative. I've never tossed a violin at anyone. I pinky swear.
But when they can do better? I know it. They know it. So I tell them to do better.
Earlier this year, my kids were making birthday cards for their uncle. They basically scribbled a smiley face and handed them to me. I took one look and said "Uhhh no. Try again, people". They typically spend hours a day making colorful ornate cards and posters for their stuffed animals, for goodness sake. Step it up a notch for a real Human Being, please.
I see no problem with building confidence in kids by telling them they did a good job at trying something new, even if they didn't do a superb job. Heck, they tried! That's awesome!
But when they are, in fact, good at doing something and just dialed it in? Or know how to write their name but only tack on a last initial out of laziness? Or simply don't want to clean their mess up and act like they don't know where the toy box is?
Gimme a break.
I'm happy to hug and support them, and my kids know I believe in them and are here to kiss boo-boos.
But they also need to know that They Can Do It On Their Own. They Can Do Better. I have faith in their abilities, and don't want them thinking that there's never room for improvement. These parents who think it is terrible to keep score at soccer games, or who argue with the Art teacher that their kid's splotches of paint are deserving of a college scholarship, or insist that their child is a genius at something when everyone else who hears/sees/smells the result is wondering "Does she see what WE see??" aren't letting their kids shine for the world, only for them. And that seems limiting, to me.
I'm not perfect, and don't expect them to be. I don't expect them to be The Greatest At Everything They Do. But we can all be a little better.
I know my kids are awesome. I just want them to prove it to themselves.
So I refuse to blow smoke up their butts. I'll leave that to their grandparents.