From birth to death we all desire encouragement.  I love the synonyms that’s interchangeable with encouragement. Ones like to inspire, hope, cheer, boost, applaud, comfort or console. Each one of these lifts my spirit and makes me feel good inside.

The first emotion or expression we encourage our newborns is to smile, not frown. The smile that lights up a baby’s face is infectious and we just can’t help grinning back. I’m positive it isn’t always gas. A child that grows up with large portions of encouragement at home is more apt to encourage others. It’s quite noticeable at school which children have parents that encourage them.

My heart goes out to the ones that struggle with aspects of discouragement. I have one student that struggles in reading. He would wander the shelves, downhearted because the books his friends read were too high of a level.  I asked him what his level was he hung his head and mumbled the numbers. I guided him to a section and proceeded to entice him on a popular series and he agreed to try one. The next week he was beaming, not only because he succeeded in passing the tests, but also because they were such good books. Every week now, he says “Okay Mrs. Chambers what’s another good book.” I’m not patting myself on the back, I’m giving him a high -five for being successful.

Mothers old or new, especially ones that are raising teens need plenty of encouragement. A word of hope that these times will get better helps them to see a light at the end of a dark tunnel. I know I did and my mom boosted my confidence telling me that I was a good mom. Encouragement is not telling them what to do, but listening to them and confirming that they are doing a good job. Advice can come later if they ask for it.
One mom  just wanted to give up on the time she set for her children to do their homework. She was tired of fighting the crabby kids and wanted to give in. I reaffirmed her convictions and encouraged her not to give up. Later she said it had become easier as the children saw she wasn’t going to waver.

One who encourages is like a cheerleader. I always wanted to be a cheerleader and I had a chance once with our church basketball league. One season was all I got, but it was fun. Cheering others, giving them a ‘good job’, or  ‘way to go’ can do wonders in how they feel about their accomplishments.  Just today I had two girls tell me they met their AR goals. I know one is a struggling reader. She was so excited to tell me and just a ‘great job’ was all she wanted. Blessings come my way when I receive a beaming smile as a thank you from the encouragement I gave them.

A friend mentioned that her aunts husband had passed away. She told me how her aunt held his hand and let him know she was going to be okay and went on to tell him that he didn’t need to worry, she would take care of the family. That was all the encouragement he needed to leave and greet his Savior.

Encouragement comes in little packages and big. It comes with short commitments and long ones, but everyone benefits from those pats on the back.

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