Encourage a Child, for Goodness Sake! {3.17.16}

What does it mean to encourage? What is goodness?  This is what the Webster 1828 dictionary says:

ENCOURAGE. To give courage to; to give or increase confidence of success; to inspire with courage, spirit, or strength of mind; to embolden; to animate; to incite; to inspirit.
GOODNESS. The state of being good; the physical qualities which constitute value, excellence or perfection; as the goodness of timber; the goodness of a soil.

Children have been on my heart and mind a lot lately. The children in my family, community, state, nation, and the world at large. I believe our children are in crisis. The lines between right and wrong are blurred. Sometimes there seem to be no boundaries at all. Even if they don’t act like it, or even think it, children need boundaries and want to know that we care enough to set and keep them. Families are falling apart. We are all busy, distracted, and caught up so much in our daily “to do” lists that sometimes we don’t even have time to think, let alone listen to our children. {I know this first hand I am sad to say.} The responsibilities we have before us are daunting to say the least. With our fast paced world, we accomplish much but feel the need to do even more. We don’t seem to get away from our work and technology. When was the last time we turned off our phones and TV’s and communicated with each other, or played a game? Do we even know what to say? Are we anxious about what we are missing on Facebook or Twitter while we are “unplugged”? encourage 2

We all need encouragement – you do and I do. But, what about our children? They need encouragement too, not just direction and discipline. Maybe we are in situations where we do encourage our children on a regular basis. I pray that is true. But, what about the children around us (in our neighborhoods and communities)? Is anyone encouraging them? We can be the ones to take a positive interest in them. We often times we see admirable qualities in action and can encourage, even if we don’t know them. I have seen admirable qualities in our neighborhood children. I have commented on it to some of their parents, but really don’t remember telling the child. They are the ones who need to hear it the most. Sometimes we see an admirable quality that is being used in a negative way. We can comment on that in a positive way as well. It just takes a little finesse (and Holy Spirit’s guiding). I encourage you to think about what some of those qualities might be: determination, steadfastness, kindness, play well with others, integrity, or compassion…you fill in the blanks. Then, encourage someone.

encourage teen 2And, let’s not forget our teenagers. They may be the most vulnerable to negative influences. Think about it…they have temptations to evil all around them. Most of us adults really can’t imagine the pressure they live under every day. Someone is always trying to sell them something – beauty, fame, money, drugs, sex – you name it. All we have to do is turn on the TV to see it. We all, even as adults are bombarded by what we are told by the media – how we need to live and look, what we need to have and do, etc. Think about the teens who see these same ads. Their brains aren’t even fully developed yet. Their reasoning is often times not as good as ours, and ours gets mixed up. They, like all humans, want to be loved and appreciated. If we don’t feel it in a proper way, we’re subject to temptations of the evil forces who promise it (whether face to face or through internet deceit). Their hormones are racing, adulthood is just ahead, and they are finding their way. Perhaps they are the most targeted and less equipped to fight the battle. How do we relate to teens? Do we ignore them, try to avoid them, or encourage them to goodness?

1 Thessalonians 5:14 says, “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

I wonder how many opportunities I have in a given week to encourage a child. How many have I wasted? As God has put this on my heart, I hope it will prompt you to keep your eyes open for children who need an encouraging word from you. So, let’s encourage a child, for goodness sake!

2 thoughts on “Encourage a Child, for Goodness Sake! {3.17.16}

  1. Amen! If we don’t encourage our children we can’t expect them to grow and mature into the adults that feel love and value life. I know I need to be better and this. It’s so easy to point out the negative things but you’re right that some negative behaviors if turned around can be used for good. Thanks for the reminder!

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  2. Thank you, Leslie. Forwarded this to Dawn. We get so caught up in our own personal problems, working just to support our kids materially and forget they need our support emotionally and our presence physically in their lives.

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