Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Encourage the good

You know that child, don't you? The one in your class that sometimes gives you a headache just thinking about them. The one the other adults talk down when they're not around. Every classroom has one, right? Some of you may be thinking 'only ONE?!'

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

Easy words to palm off or throw away.

This struck me freshly last week and does every day with my class.  With my friends.  With my colleagues.  With my wife.

Sometimes I feel like I'm tuned to the negative things around me.  They're easy to see, because I am a fallen creation.  I have fallen short of perfect standards and I like to point out other people are down at my level.

I can see the imperfect in everyone.  Just ask me and I can think of something.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

But my children need to be shown they have potential.  They need to be reminded when they slip up that I love them.  That I care for them.  That they belong.  For 8 hours from Monday to Friday they are mine.  My children.  Mine to care for.  Mine to nurture.  Mine to encourage.  Mine to lift up when they call themselves rubbish.  Mine to wipe the tears from when a child hits them out of frustration.  Mine to stand with as they rage against things and feelings they don't understand.  Mine to listen to and learn.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

And these people around me, my friends, colleagues, family, wife.  These are people precious to me.  And far more to my loving Father.  Yet I knock them down with my eyes.  With my words.  With my actions.  With my inaction in coming to their aid.

These people are precious to me.  Entrusted to me.  Brought alongside me to encourage and bolster, lift up and enable to soar.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

This is a choice I must make.  Yet when I look at myself I know I have no encouragement.  I am selfish.  I serve myself.  Without love, my words tear down.  Yet He is love.  Here is love, vast as the ocean.  Here is my Father, waiting to give me love enough for them.  For the child I find a challenge to teach.  For the colleague I don't know how to speak to.  For the family member who makes me roll my eyes.  Here is love enough for them.  And love enough for myself.  Especially myself.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

And I see the effect of choosing to see the good.  Their eyes are brightened, their attitude changed, their mind opened to see their great potential, lifted from the miasma of self-pity and mental degradation.  Here in a culture of encouragement the enemy has no hold on them.

They know their worth.  They know they are loved.  They know they belong.

And in that they will know His love.  And they will be changed.

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