Actually, it is great advice for any stage of parenting. It is just that good!
An older, wiser woman in her life challenged her to do this with her daughter, who at the time was exhibiting the surly, poor attitude that can come with raging hormones and the transition from childhood into adulthood.
This is what she said:
"Every time she walks into the room, smile at her! And then compliment her on something. Anything. Do not scold, correct, or lecture. Just smile and encourage. And PRAY."
So simple, right?
And yet, COMPLETELY EFFECTIVE.
Within a few weeks she saw a startling difference in her child. The daily life of arguing and pouting and eye rolling was no more. Their relationship changed into one of pleasure, and because the mother was willing to hold her tongue and spend time ministering to her daughter's heart, she was now able to come alongside as a friend and encourage, train, and counsel her when she needed correction. Watching them together is enjoyable and encouraging and she shares this advice with anyone struggling with their own child ~ and the results are always the same!
Who needs dozens of parenting books when you can do such a simple, and Biblical, thing!
"A cheerful looks brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones."
Half of the Eastman clan is light-hearted and cheerful - the other half is more serious and controlled. You can imagine how the two clash at times. Sadly, the serious tend to pull the cheerful down rather than being sucked into the world of joy. So, we had a family meeting! We discussed the fact that we are all prone to have "blah" faces rather than joyful ones, and how this is not the life God intended for His children. Christians who love the Lord and are filled with the Holy Spirit have no business walking around sour and mopey and bitter. Jesus said, "They will know you are Christians by your love." And love is clearly defined in I Corinthians 13.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
When a child walks into a room and sees the face of a parent exhibiting THESE traits, who wouldn't be changed? Encouraged? Relaxed? Pleasant? She is continually being greeted with a joyful countenance and a heart of gladness. And eventually, she is changed because once it filters through her own eyes and mind, it becomes a part of her...
A happy HEART makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."
We are memorizing these verses as a family. We are quoting these verses to each other throughout the day. And we are praying that the Lord will infuse each of our hearts so that it will be come natural and effortless. We want to stand out in the world. We want others to see us as different. Unique. Enticing. And it will never be because of who we are. It will only be because of who we belong to.