The Power of Encouragement

Little Johnny was overheard talking to himself as he headed through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat.

“I’m the greatest hitter in the world,” he announced. Then he tossed the ball in the air, swung at it, and missed.

“Strike One!” he yelled. Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!”

He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down he swung again and missed. “Strike Two!” he cried.

The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together. He straightened his cap and said once more, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!”

Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed.

“Strike Three!”

“Wow!” he exclaimed. “I’m the greatest pitcher in the world too!”*

Sometimes as adults we lose the optimism that helps us see life for it’s positive elements. In return we sometimes become critical and sometimes, although we would all like to get encouragement, we become a people who don’t encourage others.

Consider this: This week how many times have you corrected your child’s character or behavior–i.e., pick up your clothes, put your toys away, clean up your mess, eat with your mouth closed, don’t wear your old shoes to church, don’t pull the dog’s tail, etc.

Compare this to how many times you’ve pointed out positive elements about your child to encourage them–i.e., I like the way you laugh, I’m glad you’re my son, I love spending time with you, you’ve got a great smile, I’m proud of how you treat others when…, you’re so smart, you’re a great daughter.

Encouragement isn’t a replacement for correction and just as every child needs correction, every child also needs encouragement. A man once challenged me to spend 10 times more energy encouraging my children than correcting them.

Take this test. Keep count this week of how many times you correct your child compared to how many times you specifically encourage them. Then look at the bright side of life and become the “greatest” encourager for your children.


*This story was taken from a newsletter by Biblical Parenting:

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