Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
I’ve been thinking about this verse a lot lately. I think that the people in our lives flourish on encouragement in the day to day activities, but there are certain times that they need it.
When Bryan was trying to move over to a position at Mayo (a process which took almost a year), he would get discouraged. Things were stressful at IBM, and it was discouraging to have to wait for a position at Mayo. Even though Bryan trusted God during this time, he still needed me to be cheerleader for him. He needed to know that someone who knew him thought that he was awesome, and I do. I used the opportunity to let Bryan know that I think he is brilliant, creative, efficient, full of integrity, a great dad, and a great husband. I let him know how much I appreciated the effort that he put into our family even when he was under a lot of stress. He is a great guy (I wouldn’t have married him otherwise), and during that time, he really needed to know that.
Right now, the girls are struggling mightily with allergies. I hear on average about 3-4 sniffles every five minutes. This makes doing school and chores HARD. When I cheer them on through the school day, things get done. I tell Emma over and over again that I know she can do it, and I tell her why I know she can do it. The result: I got a lot of hugs today. I hung in there with Hannah, telling her how well she was doing when she was doing her spelling. The result: She drew a little heart with “MOM” written in it in the corner of her paper. They needed encouragement, and we got a lot more done with encouraging words than we ever do with nagging. There was still some tears, and we weren’t perfectly on schedule, but the good feeling from the encouragement spread, and the girls “sneakily” cleared my dishes from the table after lunch and Emma picked up her sister’s dirty clothes from the bathroom.
Encouragement that is specific is so helpful to people. We all need a cheerleader every now and again. And I found, today in particular, that the best way to get a cheerleader is to be one first 🙂
The Duggars often advise parents to praise their children 10 times more than they correct them. I would suggest that it works well for everyone in the family, even though I probably never reach that ratio.