Could you imagine being known for your encouragement? In discussions with one of my colleagues, Mr Dale Hemley, we discovered that we shared a favourite biblical character, Barnabas. The meaning of his name is: ‘the one who encourages’.
Recently on a Year 8 camp, I ran a session on encouragement with a challenge. I asked the students to imagine Year 8 as being the ‘year level that encourages’. You could go a step further and say – could you imagine Christian College, the whole College, being known for this? Encouragement brings with it many benefits, as it is the act of giving someone support, confidence and hope – which can in turn lead to accomplishment and success. However, even when we know that everyone can benefit significantly from this, not all of us have the will to give encouragement - least of all the reflex to do so. This can be due to our own selfish nature, which can steer us down the path of judging or putting others down, rather than lifting them up. In a world where challenges abound, it’s easy for us to feel discouraged.
Sometimes it can seem like there is no one we can turn to for words of encouragement. Everyone is busy with their own affairs, and this daily hustle and bustle can make us forget our moral obligation to each other – whether it be the role we play in our family or the general community. However, when we are in the middle of a trial, words as simple as, “Don’t lose hope, I believe in you,” can make all the difference. Encouragement can do wonders for your outlook on life. It helps us push through the bad times, and we should never underestimate the power of positive words. Some of the most important benefits of encouragement include:
Words of encouragement work like energy pills. They can give us the strength we need to overcome the obstacles that lay between us and our objectives. To know that there is someone who believes in us is like a light at the end of the tunnel. Challenges can make us physically and emotionally drained, but the right words revitalise us.
When we are at our lowest, we tend to withdraw from other people because we fear their judgment. However, if there is someone who can empower us with encouragement, then that person delivers us hope.
When we feel trapped in the dark, these words can motivate us to take the small steps, one after the other, until we see the light.
It is easy to get confused and view the world differently when we are struggling. Our focus can shift to immediate and petty things. Our desire to survive blinds us from the big picture – often leading us into wrong decisions.
A word of encouragement can calm us down long enough to take stock of what is really going on, thus empowering us to view different situations with a wiser perspective.
Encouragement is not only a confidence booster; it can act as a ‘refueling station’ for self-esteem. These are incredibly valuable tools that can be taken for granted. Often, it is only when they are diminished that we understand how important they are.
When ‘refueled’ by encouragement, we feel the confidence and support others have in us. If these people trust that we can do it, then can we not trust ourselves?
Encouragement is the healthiest motivator. It provides a reason to persevere and take the positive outlook on our endeavours, not the negative. This then gives us the best chance for success.
Let’s get out there and encourage each other.
Tim Blackhall (Chappy)
Middle School - Highton Chaplain
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