Encouragement

Encourage (v): to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope

Yesterday, the four year old and I went to the park.  Lately, Andrew would rather spend time at the park drawing letters in the dirt or making up stories than running around and climbing on playground equipment. He is definitely more of a thinker than a born athlete (which is perfectly fine by me… athletics is not at all one of my strong points!) Still… remembering my days as the non-athletic one in school and thinking that is probably even harder for the boys… I try to help him to develop his confidence in those areas.  Yesterday we tried a few ladders that led up to the reward of sliding down some pretty cool slides. Andrew’s initial reaction was, “I can’t do this! I don’t want to do this!”. I reminded him that he had conquered those ladders last fall and that I was right by his side. He still needed encouragement every step of the way… but after that first time his confidence was restored and he was ready to go do it again! One of my greatest joys as a parent is watching the elated look of “I did it!” on his face.

I started thinking of times I was encouraged in my life.  The ones that most easily come to mind are from adulthood — someone telling me I was a strong person at a time I felt incredibly weak, a friend listening over lunch, support to pursue dreams, a hug on an incredibly bad day. Here is a list of some ways to encourage others… some are from my life, some are not. Some relate to giving comfort and courage to go on through tough times, and some are everyday ways to lift others’ spirits. My challenge to you is to work on encouraging others in your life. They will remember. Both you and the ones you encourage will be strengthened.

  1. Give a hug… even a virtual one (note: be careful with this one… I’ve been the recipient of a few unwanted hugs in my life, especially from the opposite sex!)
  2. Send a card just to say “I’m thinking of you”.  Hand write a note inside.
  3. Take action to meet a need — take a meal, give a restaurant gift card, babysit the kids, come help clean house.
  4. Put notes in your kids lunchbox… and your spouse’s.
  5. Go around the dinner table as a family and say what you appreciated about each other that day.
  6. Be specific when telling someone what you appreciate or admire about them or their message.
  7. Keep checking in to see how things are going during extended tough times. Our society encourages people to be self-sufficient and not ask for help all of the time. That doesn’t mean we don’t need it.
  8. Remind others of their past victories.
  9. Share your story when appropriate. Don’t compare… but sometimes it helps to know you aren’t alone.
  10. Pass along quotes/Scriptures that are applicable.
  11. Recognize small changes in attitude and actions. Applaud positive steps… no matter how small.
  12. Listen. Keep listening.  Ask questions.  Listen to the answers.
  13. Spend time with the person you want to encourage.  Your presence often says more than your words.
  14. Words to say: “You can do it!  I believe in you!”
  15. Smile.
  16. When you ask, “How are you doing?”, listen.
  17. If someone confides in you… follow up later and ask how things are going.
  18. Say, “I love you.” (and then share why!)

The last 2 are from Andrew.  I asked him today if there was a way I helped him when he was a little scared climbing the ladder.  He said:

  • Stand right next to me (good advice… it helps knowing someone is right there beside you!)
  • Telling me which step to get on (more good advice… sometimes we are afraid because we don’t know the way to go or the first step to take to get there.  Encouragers help us remember we don’t need to know all of the steps before starting our journey… we just need to have someone who has been there before and can lead us each step of the way).

Here are some more encouraging posts from todays A to Z challenge participants:

Blabbin’ Grammy

Families are Forever

GA Flygirls FLY Journal (wow, do I need this blog!)

And, of course, Lee at Tossing It Out (his blog for today is encouragement in disguise)

Who encourages you? What are some things others have done or said to give you courage in facing a new or frightening situation, or to give you hope in discouraging times?

Speaking of encouragement… stop by my friend’s blog at Learning Contentment and encourage her as she is getting started with this A to Z challenge! 🙂

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17 responses to this post.

  1. Awww thanks for another take on encouragement and the wonderful ideas and thanks ever so much for the shout outs for my blogs (gaflygirl’s Fly journal, and families are forever)
    ~April- GAFlygirl

    Reply

  2. Love the wonderful ideas! This post was inspiring and I love that your four year old is filled with adventure and a fun creative mind! Althetics aren’t always important and I love children that would rather play in the dirt and make up stories… of course I’m sure that means my child with be athletic and have no imagination, either way I’m sure I’ll still have a ton of love to go around!

    Beautiful post! Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Reply

  3. So wonderful to have such encouragement today. Thank you for your sweet and well thought out post.

    Reply

  4. I do alot of your ideas, I love it, that makes me feel good. I also have a 4 year old boy. My son is into dirt and worms right now, and a little soccer.
    I loved your post.
    I will follow you to see what you write for the next letter

    Reply

  5. Excellent post… I love how you put a list of ideas… on how we can be an encouragement to others! Great word choice for E!

    Reply

  6. I loved your son’s contributions. It reminds me of Piglet sidling up to Pooh just to be sure of him. I think we sometimes forget that just being there for someone can be so simple, and yet it can mean so much.

    KJR
    http://kierahjane.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  7. wow. Thanks for the encouragement. I think we get to busy sometimes and forget the power of giving and getting encouragement.

    Reply

  8. Awesome. I especially liked number 7. During tough times, people flock around, but then they tend to drift away. We don’t like to tell them “Hey, I still would like to have you there,” because we think it makes us look needy. Well the truth is, we DO need each other! That’s why we’re all here together and not each on our own planet!

    (Although I know a few people whom I think really are on their own planet.. ) 😉

    Reply

  9. Very encouraging !! Its true how often small words of encouragement perks up and helps in bringing back the lost confidence , and what other best way than to learn from that child ! ( had Andrew ben easil taken up , these trail of thoughts wouldnt have come up , right ? ) Very inspiring post ..and so I am taking your encouraging words , only to spread into my lil small world out there 🙂

    Thanx for dropping by at my place 🙂

    Reply

  10. I’ve been super encouraged to see how all of the participants have been taking this challenge to heart. It’s exciting to see all of the wonderful comments that we are giving to one another. I hope everyone can keep up that momentum.

    Thank you, Melody, for including other bloggers links in your post and providing your words of encouragement. That’s what it will take to get everyone across the finish line.

    Lee
    Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

    Reply

  11. I agree with you on this one and love your suggestions. Encouragement is my passion, because I know it makes a difference for me! I believe if we could learn to say encouraging words to our kids and each other, we could change the world one person at a time.

    Melody, I would love for you to check out my encouragement bracelets and would be glad to send you one if you could use it!

    How can you encourage others when you are not with them every day? Is someone you know fearful when taking that big test or trying out for the team? Or maybe lacks courage to stand up for herself in a difficult situation?

    [Edited to take out some marketing of products… if you are interested please go to this commenter’s blog or web page]

    How to encourage
    http://howtoencourage.blogspot

    Reply

  12. Great post. love the idea of billboards(signs) lighting our way!

    Reply

  13. So inspirational and motivating…Wow…awesome job, thanks for sharing this post and for sticking with the challenge! So glad you are in it too!

    Reply

  14. Hello,
    So glad to read your posting about the roads and choices we make. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving comments. I especially love the Robert Frost poetry and the Psalms quotes.
    Best regards to you, Friend
    Ruby

    Reply

  15. My three year old will spend more time playing dance class or teacher on the playground equipment or bounce palace than climbing, sliding, or bouncing. She is physically quite tentative, but once she gets something she lights up, too. It’s hard sometimes to know when to push / encourage, and when to let her choose not to try something.

    Reply

  16. Great Post!!! It is amazing what a little encouraging can do to make a person feel better:)

    Reply

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