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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Encourage Those You Meet Today

Some people think church is a place where you go to get someone to make you feel bad about yourself. I wonder why people would want to go to a church like that. I don't like to go to places where they tell me I am rotten. I'll bet there are lots of others that feel the same as I do.

This doesn't mean that there aren't times that you shouldn't feel bad. You should feel bad if you lied to someone. You should feel bad if you have said something that has hurt someone. The tragedy is when you leave people in that condition. If you are going to tell the them the bad news you must tell them the good.

I taught sixth grade public school several years ago. I had one little boy in my class that was as tough as nails. I could have beaten him with a piece of barbed wire and he wouldn't have flinched. He had been told he was a bad kid who would never do anything great in school all of his life. Many of these prophets of discouragement were teachers. I took a different approach with him.

One day he was acting up in class. I asked him to step outside so I could talk to him. I closed the door and stood in the hallway and told him that I loved him (that's a little scary for a teacher to do now but this was in the middle 70's) I told him that I expected great things from him but I was disappointed in his actions that day. I told him that I had confidence in him as a leader and someone who could do anything he set his mind to.

He began to cry. Not just a little either-he wailed. I had only put my hand on his shoulder. He was not physically hurt in any way. I wondered if anyone had told him these things before. He really didn't want to disappoint me.

I sent him to the boys room to wash his face so that the others wouldn't know he had been crying. Unfortunately, his eyes were still red when he re-entered the classroom. All the other children knew how tough he was. They must have thought I had beaten him.

He began to live up to my expectations. He was a really good kid. It's amazing what people can do when you encourage and put your confidence in them. They seem to want to please the ones who care about them. They want to continue to hear words of encouragement.

Try this little experiment today. Give someone some genuine words of encouragement and see how they act toward you. See how they do the thing you have encouraged them in. I'll bet they do it better. I bet they will treat you differently too.

Most of us know our own failures. That's why we believe others when they tell us how bad we are. We need someone to encourage us so that we don't stay in our failures. God made us to do great things but we need each other to help us believe this.

Encourage someone and be a partner with God in seeing others do great things. Pass this along to others who will encourage others who will encourage others.


rfanch said...

thanks for the good word, Prentis. I fully believe that people of any age live up to our lowest expectations, and have proven it out over and over in my years of teaching, children, youth and college students. thanks for sharing!

Prentis said...

You just did what I asked when you encouraged me. Thanks!