Strong, Smart, Beautiful…Anything Else?

IMG_4989I recently spent a week in Virginia with my parents and my sister’s family. I had a lot of quality time with everyone, ate a lot of Gelati Celesti ice cream, played some games, and repeatedly tried to assure my cats that the visit was temporary.

One of my favorite things about going home is being able to spend time with my niece. I don’t have kids and probably won’t have kids, but I love being an uncle. Anna is almost 3 now, and it’s incredible to see her personality start to blossom.

I also got to see some of the traditions and rituals my family has adopted. My sister lives about 15 minutes from my parent’s house, so it’s almost like they’ve all combined to create this new family unit.

My favorite of those rituals is how they say goodnight to Anna when they’re together. They dim the lights, gather in a circle, and the first thing my sister says to Anna is, “Remember that you’re strong, you’re smart, and you’re beautiful.”

I really like the emphasis of those attributes. I like that beautiful isn’t first on the list, but¬†that it still made the list. I like that strength is there, as it can mean many things (physical, emotional, etc.). And I like that smart is there too.

Apparently this is something my dad’s mother did at tuck-in when he was little, and those words really stuck with him over the years. They were words of reinforcement, encouragement, and affirmation.

I did have one thought, though, one that I shared with my sister when I got back to St. Louis. I mentioned to her the idea that “funny” could be added to the list. Anna is already developing a great, unique sense of humor, and I see humor as a really important trait in anyone (whether you’re witty or you’re able to laugh at yourself).

“Remember that you’re strong, you’re smart, you’re beautiful, and you’re funny.” I like that.

What would you put on your list of attributes worth affirming and encouraging at tuck-in time? (Update: People have mentioned “kind” and “creative,” which I really like on the list.) I’m sure I’m missing some good ones. Did your parents do anything like this when you were growing up?