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

My young grandchildren are great examples. I have seen their faces go from determination to defeat, but with persistence it then goes to victory all in the span of about three minutes. They will often set out to accomplish something, open a container, reach an item on the counter, put a puzzle piece in, you know – that sorta thing. They try so hard, but when it doesn’t happen quickly they say “I can’t do it” and give up. Now there are a couple different ways to handle this.
• Let it go at “I can’t” and do it for them, to which they usually reply “thank you.”
• Ask if they 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.”
• Encourage them to try again – especially if it is something I know they can do.
I tend to go the encouragement route, sometimes they may need a little help, but most times they just need that verbal confirmation that I believe in them and think they can do it. More times than not, they can accomplish the goal… and when they do – oh the triumphant joy that comes across their face is picture worthy.

School aged kids often need encouragement. Have you ever been the last person on the softball team to strike out and lose the game? That feels horrible. A simple “you’ll get ‘em next time” (followed by an ice cream) 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 – 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. He mastered it after a few practice runs, and drove a stick shift for many years.

How about adults? Encouragement and praise can go much further than nagging and ridicule, whether in the workplace or at home.

Yes, everyone could use a little encouragement now and then. Just remember your words can build someone up or tear them down, use them carefully.

*Pam Horton is a Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach, in the Raleigh area.*

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