Urie Bronfenbrenner was a famous developmental psychologist who contributed greatly to the field of child development with theories, programs, and writings. He was a deep, critical thinker. But the quote he’s most famous for is quite simple.
“Every kid needs at least one adult who is crazy about him.”
And for all his deep postulations, thick books, wordy theories, and years of lectures, that phrase pretty much sums it all up. It sums up a lot of what is at the heart of all of child development, really.
In talking about the Five Critical Processes for Positive Development, Bronfenbrenner famously quipped:
“I am sometimes asked up to what age do these principles apply. The answer is debatable, but I would say anytime up to the age of, say, 99.”
I would submit that these two quotes can stand together. We each need someone who believes in us. We each need someone who sees the best in us. We each need someone who will find the time to give just a moment of enthusiastically undivided attention.
We each need someone who believes we can storm the castle, go to the Olympics, fly to the moon, or become the queen.
Grandparents can be a great example. I learn so much watching the seasoned parents in our own family. I see how they listen to every drawn out story. How they celebrate the smallest victories. How they light up just seeing our boys walking into the room.
They’re just crazy about them.
So I challenge you to focus on showing those little ones that you love and teach just how wonderful you think they are. Show them you’re their biggest fan. (You could probably think of a few “big kids” who could benefit from some extra attention as well! As Urie said, it’s probably developmentally applicable through that first century!)
Show them that you’re just crazy about them.