The Power of Real Encouragement


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Dear Teacher,

While at training this week I have a lot of time to think about hope and encouragement (which are some of the things that can impact brain growth and change). Believe it or not, I have only recently come to realize my gift/talent for encouragement and hope-giving. I never thought that it was my “thing” to help people pick themselves up and strive for great things. It has been there in me for a long time, but I just never saw it,

I thought about this earlier this week because of something that was said to me. One of the activities at the Teaching with Poverty in Mind workshop was to have perfect practice at encouraging the right things in students (strategies, effort, and attitude) that bring about long term brain and thinking change that leads to success and achievement. As I was going around and finding people to talk to, I encouraged a teacher’s attitude and tied it to success. This was only practice, and we were only pretending the other teachers were students, but he told me something after it was done. He said, “Wow, I actually feel encouraged and fired up to strive harder because of what you told me. Thank you!”

I have gotten that a lot from people lately (students, teachers, and others), even before I started this blog. It is one of the other reasons that I started this whole thing. It has become clear to me that I have a gift for it. A gift is worthless if you do not use it for the good of others, and who needs encouragement and hope more than my fellow teachers and educators? 🙂

The reason that I did not see this gift in myself before is because I did not view how I talked to people as encouragement. I thought encouragement was “feel good” language with the intent of cheering people up. I am not good at that. All that I do is tell people what I notice about them or what they have done and point out the benefits of it and/or how it helps others (or themselves). That’s it. I saw my skill as being telling the truth of what I saw to others. I just do that. I can’t help it. It is just in the core fiber of my being to do that.

For some reason, positive truth is powerful. It can change the way people think. It changes how you fell about yourself and situations. It gives you new perspective. It helps you to remember that nothing last forever, you can and will get through it, and that you have resources that you forgot or did not see in yourself.

It is true that “cheer up” sentiments do help in the short term. That is “good encouragement.” However, that kind of encouragement is not what changes you and changes the world around you. Good encouragement is quite temporary.

As I thought about this over the last few days, I came up with one idea to boil this all down and show how how and why real encouragement has true and sustaining power (if you get my Tweets, you got a sneak preview of this last night):

Good encouragement helps you to feel better; great encouragement cuts you open and repairs your heart, soul, and mind with positive truth.”

What kind of encouragement are you giving out and spreading around you home, school, and community? Is it the kind of encouragement that lasts, or is it the short term, temporary,cheer-up brand? How can you give more of the hopeful, life-changing variety? Are you willing to start trying to change this today?

Challenge: Give two people the cutting, life-changing type of encouragement today and then come back and tell us the reaction it had/caused.

You are awesome! I know that you probably already give out the great type of encouragement! It never hurts to hone and tweak those kind of skills and abilities. You are so amazing! I want you to keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

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5 thoughts on “The Power of Real Encouragement

  1. This came along just at the right time. I responded to an email from a friend today and she wrote back and said thanks for the encouragement. Inhad to go back and read my email to see what I had said that we encouraging. I simply told her the truth and what I thought about her situation and agreed with her based on these things. I didn’t realize that I was encouraging, but now I see that it was just right.
    Thanks!

  2. I find that I often give the ‘cut and repair’ kind of encouragement, and I’m aware of it when I do because the look on the other person’s face is genuinely appreciative. And I also do the superficial kind of encouragement–the ‘keep up the good work’ kind. I want to try for more of the ‘c & r.’ Thanks for the encouragement!!

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