“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—so I have several scratching posts placed 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 the repeating of that behavior. Often, this includes giving the dog a treat as reinforcement.
The Christians of Thessalonica faced persecution and discouragement. 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 a task for which I have volunteered my time. I find, when complimented, I work harder at that task the next time. I feel it is more worth the time I invest. It gives me a spring in my step, and I think more positively about what I am doing. I look forward to repeating that behavior again, just as a dog or cat.
Many times we find people are what we label as “burned out” when they have possibly 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.
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.
Encourage others. It makes such a difference.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and taliesin.)
(For more devotions, visit us at www.christiandevotions.us.)