After enrolling in a challenging and fast-paced workout class, Rachel Macy Stafford, an author and blogger at The Hands Free Revolution, learned just how important encouraging others is. In a now-viral Facebook post, the mom of two explained that getting praised by her instructor when she needed it most totally changed her state of mind. She harnessed the positive energy to inspire her daughters, Natalie, 15, and Avery, 12, by giving them kudos for things they've accomplished via their lunch bags — and all parents can easily steal this idea.
Rachel explained how it began — she had felt like she was doing "something wrong" every workout class. So when another student curtly told her that she was at the wrong station, she got pretty frustrated. Feeling defeated, Rachel got down on the floor to do a plank push-up and saw her instructor make a beeline toward her. Expected to be corrected again, Rachel was surprised to hear her teacher told her how well she was doing.
"Surprisingly my eyes got teary, which indicated I really needed that encouragement," wrote Rachel. "Suddenly, I found my strength and felt a little more optimistic — like maybe I'm on the right track after all."
The revelation wasn't lost on Rachel, and she was determined to have her daughters reap the benefits of a little well-placed encouragement in time for back-to-school season. She wrote:
The timing of this experience is not lost on me. My children both started new schools recently — one started high school and the other started middle school. They are learning many new procedures and processing large amounts of information — way more than an exercise class! It's no wonder they look exhausted when they come home each day. Knowing what a little bit of validation did for me on the workout floor inspired me to recognize my children's strong start.
The busy mama got to work passing along the good vibes.
"I wanted my kids to know that accomplishing their first-ever week of high school and first-ever week of middle school was significant," she said. "I placed a few of my daughters' favorite treats inside a brown bag on which I wrote things I'd noticed about the way they successfully navigated their first week."
"It's comforting to know you're on the right track when you are not quite sure where you are going. It's comforting to know someone is noticing your effort as you figure things out."
She explained that making the bags only took a few minutes: "My affirmations all started with 'I love how you . . .' and it took ten minutes, at the most," adding that she gave Natalie and Avery their decorated bags in private. "There was quite a beautiful response from each girl. No one got teary (I guess that's only me), but it was plain to see that the validation meant something."
The biggest takeaway for Rachel? A little bit of encouragement can go a long way.
"Since then, I've noticed that many of the positives I pointed out are being accomplished a little more assuredly," said Rachel. "It's comforting to know you're on the right track when you are not quite sure where you are going. It's comforting to know someone is noticing your effort as you figure things out."
Judging by the comments others left on her post, it seems like she truly inspired others. Scroll through to see some of the most supportive remarks.