For some reason that eludes my limited technical ability, my printer will not properly align. It’s a common procedure; after replacing the toner cartridge, the printer automatically uses an extraordinary amount of new toner to bathe a sheet of paper with color and patterns that mean nothing to anyone other than those who sell the cartridges. Yes, they will see you again soon.
What “alignment” actually means remains a mystery to me because all the stuff I print looks just fine. Yet I continue to see the big, bold, and obnoxious warning: “Printer Alignment Failed.”
I’ve re-run the alignment procedure so often that my toner cartridge is low again.
Seriously, I’d like to move on past my failure, but my computer constantly shares the failure message. Every time I turn it on. Every day. And there’s nothing I can do to turn that message off. Why doesn’t the computer give me credit for all the wonderful updates successfully installed? Or when I remember to empty the recycle bin?
Too many kids wonder the same thing. They constantly receive reminders about their shortcomings (grades, disparaging comments, put-downs, “why won’t you___” remarks, the list could go on long enough to drain a toner cartridge). In research for my new book (Lessons Kids Need to Learn), a student said, “When all I hear is correction, life starts to feel like a mistake.”
A correction is needed. Please make a deliberate effort to share at least one positive message with a child whenever you spend time together. Just one affirming or encouraging comment is a message that will realign a kid’s perspective.
During a Sunday school class for parents, a dad mustered the courage to ask a question about an issue that deeply bothered him.
"What can I do to stop my daughter's eyes from rolling every time I pray before meals?" he said. "We've prayed for years, and now she acts like this."
The answer hit him like an unexpected backhand slap: "Stop praying for your family."
What? Sorry if you felt it too.
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David Staal serves as the president & CEO of Kids Hope USA, a national nonprofit organization that partners local churches with elementary schools to provide mentors for at-risk students. A senior editor for Christianity Today and International and former children's ministry director, he also authored these books: