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A Good Word

“Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement– and we will make the goal.” ― Robert Collier

   Not too many days ago, I received a few positive lines from someone in the writing community. It was brief, but it was such a boost and helped me move forward to writing this very blog. In preparation for the next novel, I have read true stories of people who wound up in terrible circumstances. They made it through those only to encounter even worse, yet they endured physically and mentally. All these things got me thinking about something very important: encouragement.

   One thought I had was that encouragement can come from unexpected sources. Sometimes, the slightest thing can give a person the hope to keep moving. I once read a story in which a boy living in a war-torn region hungered terribly and found a rotten vegetable or two in the cellar of an abandoned home. Rotting food gave him the courage to keep surviving. Sometimes, something as simple as a change in the weather can be the shred of hope a person desperately needs. So encouragement does not always have to come from another person, but many times it does.

   I think one of the primary motivators to offer encouragement is kindness. I wrote about that in the last edition, and as I considered the current topic, I found the two inextricably linked. The wonderful thing about kindness and encouragement is that both are contagious. So, is it barely possible we give both to others simply because they were once given to us? I think so. 

   But sometimes encouragement falls on deaf ears (I say give it anyway!). Why is that? It seems there are numerous factors that impact meaningfulness, such as the perceived sincerity of the giver, the magnitude of the recipient’s despair, and even their self-awareness of a need for encouragement. I do want to express that encouragement is not the same as goading. Is there a time to ‘prod and spur’ a little? I would say so, but without a little bit of hope, it will likely be ineffective. Trust me, as a teacher, I need to remind myself of this just as much as anyone. Encouraging words can help create the open space to get the kite in the air. At least, that is how I see it. The most meaningful encouragement comes from those in whom we have some level of trust and confidence. 

   Over the past month, several people whom I care about very much have experienced some serious life difficulties– the kinds that strike fear and dread in the hearts of most. They have needed to be encouraged, no doubt, but the truth is, we will all need it some time. That is just one more reason to dole out as much of it as possible. Seeing people struggle is difficult, but attempting to uplift them is a win-win. Who knows, the person you encourage today may be the very person who will encourage you tomorrow. 

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. 

Proverbs 12:25

There is still time to snag discounted copies of Dunnigan for the readers on your shopping list! Click on Santa to visit the shop!

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