A Child’s Guide to Paying a Compliment


They (those mysterious purveyors of all opinions) say to write what you know. Writers will agree that real life situations inspire them. Listening to conversations improves your dialogue-writing skills.

Only, it is very important to consider the source of inspiration.

As he approached, the butterflies in her stomach gave up fluttering and adopted clog dancing as their activity of choice. He embodied the romantic hero of every fairytale. She smiled as he neared. “Hi.” 

He grinned. “I wanted to introduce myself and tell you that you look old and weird.”people-1316454_640

As my poor female character makes an awkward exit, let me assure you that I have heard those very words from the lips of some of my nephews and nieces. Thank you, kind children. Nothing bolsters one’s confidence more than hearing they look weird and old.

My sister once received her own “compliment.” When introducing herself, a little girl misheard her name. Upon being corrected, the little girl said, “Well, if it had been Amy, it would have been a pretty name.”

I sometimes think God put children into the world to help man overcome the sin of pride. 

Now, another nephew of mine was slightly more creative with his “compliment.” As someone who appreciates the finer wardrobe in life — like jeans and t-shirts — I have never considered myself a fashionista. Still, I had recently bought a long sweater. Blue, soft, comfortable, I wore it on a visit to my sister’s house.

wizard-1454385_640I tell myself it was the long blue sweater that inspired my nephew to comment, “You look like a wizard.”

As I searched for a mirror to double-check that I had not grown a gray beard, I thanked my nephew for his touching compliment.

Before my nephews reach the age where they go a-courting, I am resolved to give them a brief lesson on how not to compliment a lady. “You’re beautiful” might be generic, but trust me, it’s a far sight better than “You look like an old, weird wizard.”

In spite of their lack of complimenting skills, I love kids. After all, “children are a gift of the Lord” (Ps. 127:3NASB).

And part of the gift they bring is humility.

What’s the weirdest compliment you have received from a child?


2 thoughts on “A Child’s Guide to Paying a Compliment”

  1. Great newsletter, Jody. A hairdresser once told me I looked like Morgan Freeman. You’ve met me. I don’t. After we stopped laughing, we figured out she meant an older actress named Morgan Fairchild. Nephews, nieces, and hairdressers say the funniest compliments.

    Sent from my iPhone



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