A Little Encouragement Can Go A Long Way

Webster’s Dictionary states:  Encourage-vb  1. To make bold  2. To urge on  n-encouragement.

I really would have thought there would be more definitions for this.  I just feel that encouragement can be so many things, but I suppose it is as defined, just shown in many ways.

I’m sure you’ve noticed I love to use my two year old granddaughter as an example.  I have seen her little face go from determination to defeat, but with persistence it then goes to victory all in the span of about three minutes.  She will set out to accomplish something, open a container, reach an item on the counter, put a puzzle piece in, you know – that sorta thing.  She is trying so hard, but when it doesn’t happen quickly she will say “I can’t do it” and give up.  Depending on whether she’s had her nap that day or not, there are a couple different ways to handle this.  Let it go at “I can’t” and do it for her, to which she will usually reply “thank you.”  Ask her if she would like some help, which will either get a “yes, will you help me?” or a “no, I can’t do it – you do it.”  Or, encourage her to try again – especially if it is something I know she can do.  I tend to go the encouragement route, sometimes she may need a little help as well, but most times she just needs that verbal confirmation that I believe in her and think she can do it.  More times than not, with a halfway descent attempt, she can accomplish her goal… and when she does – oh the triumphant joy that comes across her face is picture worthy. 

That sense of accomplishment is such a wonderful feeling, it just bolsters you up and makes you puff up your chest and say “Wow – I did it!” 

Encouragement is not just for little children either.  School aged kids often need a little encouragement.  I remember being the last person on the softball team to strike out and lose the game, ugh.  That feels horrible.  The proper perspective on that may not be easily seen by someone wallowing in self pity because the whole team blames them.  A simple “you’ll get ‘em next time”  (followed by an ice cream – grin) can help out a lot.

Teens?  HA!  I remember trying to teach my older boy to drive a stick shift, which is the vehicle we had for him to drive.  Oh boy, the first time he tried it – stall… stall….. jerk, jerk, whiplash, stall.  That was it!  He jumped out of the car, slammed the door and yelled something about the stupid car. Chuckle.  That was it for that day, but we kept at it and I continued to tell him he could do it, he just needed to practice.  Now, yup – you guessed it – he drives a stick. Grin. 

How about adults?  Sure, we all could use some encouragement.  This article actually came about because two total strangers gave me some encouragement about my business last weekend.  One gentleman said to me, “Excellent.  Good job.  Keep working your passion.”  The other wrote, “Please keep up the good work.”  It’s nice to get some encouraging words about your work.

Well, I’m sure you get the point and I’ve gone on long enough.  Just remember, your words can build someone up or tear them down, use them carefully.  

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