Being a parent is sometimes a thankless job. Moms and dads drive kids around town, take care of them when they’re sick, and solve childhood crises all without much encouragement from the people around them.
Being a teenager can be exhausting, too. Heavy school work loads, peer pressures, self-esteem issues, and transitioning from child to adult…..well, who wants to face all of that without a little understanding from the people around them?
What about being a younger child? Or a neighbor? Or an employee? Or a boss? Don’t we all face issues in our daily lives in which we could use a little encouragement? A pat on the back? A “way to go!”
I think so. That’s why this month my family has taken a challenge to be better encouragers. Not only do we need encouragement from others, but we need to learn how to encourage others, as well. This is a spiritual muscle we ought to stretch!
So, here is our working definition:
Encouragement: something that makes someone more determined, hopeful, or confident.
Our goal: do or say at least one encouraging thing each day.
Simple enough, right? Well, I thought so, too, until about 1 week into our challenge. When I realized that our encouragements only consisted of compliments to others (Your hair is pretty or I like your jacket), I knew we had better expand our understanding of what it means to encourage.
Now we have more specific goals. Check it out:
- Bring sunshine into the room!
- Catch someone being good!
- Ask God to give you a positive attitude!
- Make more positive comments and fewer negative ones!
- Show appreciation, support, and respect!
- Compliment before you complain!
THAT’S encouraging! Our challenge isn’t magically turning my family into 5 perfect people, but we are learning from it. After all, perfection isn’t the goal, transformation is. Slow, steady transformation into who God created us to be.
What steps could you take today to be a more encouraging person? Go ahead. Stretch that muscle. We all need the exercise.
Hebrews 10:24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.