My word for today: encouragement.

Today, we took our youngest daughter on a college visit. She’s been a work in progress from the get go: she flighty, her middle name is drama, she’s changes her mind like the weather changes here in Iowa. The last semester of her sophomore year and the first semester of her junior year, she struggled with us, friends, school, you name it, it was hard.

Yet, we’ve never given up hope. When she wants, she’s got a smile that lights up a room. She has a powerful, beautiful voice that makes people stop and listen. Her dramatic side has earned awards the last two years at district and state speech contest. We’ve known for a long time, this girl will go places, but when?

Well, this semester, we’ve seen a change. She’s caring about what’s happening with her grades, studying more, seeking out help. She continues to be active in fine arts with speech and music, but most importantly, we see a change in attitude. That to me, is the biggest one, because her attitude will make or break her success, period.

Today, we visited the University of Iowa and saw what they have to offer for a business program. She got some information about classes, what expectations are, and how this could play out for her. We’ll visit Iowa State (where her sister goes), but I think her mind is made up. And with that, we offer her encouragement. For all the bluster and hot air she puts out, in the end, she’s still a little girl who just needs to know she’s on the right track. She’s so different from her sister that way. So, while she hates to admit it, that encouragement we offer is something that she needs.

And for us, sometimes, it’s hard to do so with all the “stuff” that’s happened, the hurtful comments, being frozen out when all we want to do is help. Yet, as parents, we continue forward. We love her. We care for her. In the end, the encouragement we give will feed her soul as she begins to feel out where the next steps will be.

It will be difficult, harder than she realizes right now. But if she allows that encouragement in, to help her out when times get tough, I have no doubt in what she can do.