Good boy! Thatta girl! When I see my indoor cats using the scratching posts, I praise them in an effort to encourage the good behavior. Because I have not had their nails trimmed, the alternative is scratching on the furniture, which could be much worse. Hence, the numerous scratching posts around our home to discourage this behavior. When a dog is house-trained, taught to sit or shake hands, the owner is instructed to bestow abundant praise to encourage repetition of that behavior. Often, this includes giving the dog a treat as reinforcement.
The Christians of Thessalonica faced persecution and discouragements. Paul encouraged the people to build each other up. He realized encouragement keeps us plugging along in our faith in spite of persecution and lack of support.
I love to receive compliments, whether it is for work I have done as part of a paid job or for a task for which I have volunteered my time. I find, if complimented, I work harder at that task the next time, feeling it is more worth the time I invest. I have a spring in my step, think more positively about what I am doing, and look forward to repeating that behavior again.
Often, people are labeled as “burned out” when they possibly have just not received adequate recognition for a job done well. It is such a small thing we can do that has the potential to make a huge impact in someone’s life. A positive word spoken to a person has the power to transform them.
I believe we are all capable of recognizing something good in another person. Perhaps it will take practice for you. Genuine, heartfelt compliments are like gold nuggets—small with the potential to be powerful. This simple habit will assist in motivating others to continue their good works. Show your thanks to those you love and to God for His faithful kindness.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and octaviolopez.)
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