Words of Praise

It does no harm to speak a friendly word.                                                                                                              

Louis L'Amour

Think of someone that you admire or enjoy being around and chances are they have been an encouragement to you. Think of someone that you would just as soon avoid and the likelihood is that they rarely have anything encouraging to say. I was taught this truth by a group of nine year old girls.

Now, girls are different from boys. I learned this important lesson the first day I ever coached a team of little girls. I had coached many boys teams, so I thought I knew how to coach. Make a boy run a lap after he's got himself in trouble and he takes it as a badge of honor. He's been bad, but he's man enough to pay the price.  Girl's, however, take it personally as I found it when I had one 4th grader run a couple of laps for a minor discipline problem. She ran her laps quick enough but then collapsed in a heap of tears. The other little girls gathered around and patted her and spoke soothing words to her - I just stood there, dumbfounded. Girls are different from boys!

After that, I came up with "the speech". I explained to the girls that whenever they did something wrong, they would run. Once the laps were finished, everything was okay. I was not mad at them and, when the lap was over, all was forgotten - I still liked them and we were still friends. From that day forward I gave the same speech on the first day of practice and never again had this particular problem in all the years I coached little girls.

I also learned something else that day: Little people, like big people, need to hear praise. It's not that there is aren't times for criticism, but I have found that encouragement is far more powerful in motivating people to the type of behavior that is desired. An added benefit is that people love and respect someone who encourages them, if for no other reason than it takes love and respect to offer encouragement. And, most of us generally love those who love to us. If you haven't already, why not find some word of genuine praise for someone today. It will make their day and yours!

Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.                                                

I Thessalonians 5:11, NIV