To her parents’ credit, my little grandgirl is very polite. Part of it is really good teaching, but, in her case, I think a good part of it is just her nature. That kid has been saying thank you regularly, and appropriately, since she was very, very tiny. She seems to get what it means, rather than just repeating it back as rote, and more, she’s completely sincere most every time she says it.

Last night we were reading a stack of “two” books (which typically equals about five, even though she knows full well how many are two), and one of them was, ironically, a counting book. After she successfully counted eight bunnies on the page, I said, “good job!” She turned, looked me straight in the eye, with extreme pleasure, and said, “Thank you, Mimmie.” It very obviously came straight from her heart.

She’s also learning ‘yes ma’am,’ which typically comes into play when things turn serious. Like, for instance, after she’s gotten in trouble for something and her mother is talking to her about it.

“Lilli, do you understand why you are in time out?”

“Yes, ma’am.” (lower lip out a little, big eyes full of sorrowful regret)


“Lilli, you’re not listening to Mommy. Do you hear me??”

“Yes MA’AM (pronounced MAY- um for extra emphasis, and accompanied by a little stomp, usually because she’s annoyed at the interruption and sensing impending doom)

In either case, whether contrite or defiant, she’s sincere. Girlfriend means what she’s saying.

Over and over, I notice the difference between kids and adults. Certainly there are very obvious differences, but some are subtle and you don’t notice them as much until you see them modeled consistently in our young counterparts and realize that you don’t witness them all that often in your adult encounters. Sincerity is one of those subtle ones. Very often it seems that we say what we think people want to hear so we can move on to the next thing. We may or may not mean it, but that seems to be beside the point.

When did sincerity stop being important?

An honest, heartfelt statement, or profession, or confession, delivered while looking someone straight in the eye is a vital part of healthy relationship. It makes people feel valued and loved, because it’s not just lip service. It’s a product of your heart.

I’m thankful Lilli seems to have a handle on this now, at such a young age, and I’m praying it will stay. I pray she never loses that part of her that not only means what she says but knows how to convey it, because unbeknownst to her, her Mimmie is taking notes. Why don’t you grab a pen, too?


“For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 2:17 ESV

“My words shall express the uprightness of my heart, and my lips shall speak what they know with utter sincerity.” Job 33:3 AMP

“The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness (my conscious integrity and sincerity with Him); according to the cleanness of my hands has He recompensed me.” Psalm 18:20 AMP