encouragement :: praying for my kids

Today’s virtue to pray: ENCOURAGEMENT

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)

Oh, I love encouragement. I love to be encouraged and I love to encourage people…whether it be through a compliment, a little gift, a note in the mail (yes, snail mail is still used!) or anything in between. The most fun way to encourage is when I hear someone say something great about someone else and then I go to the other person and tell them how awesome other people think they are and how much they are appreciated. LOVE IT! Now don’t misunderstand me. It’s not natural for me to do this. And there are many times I will almost be asleep in bed and I think of writing someone a note…literally think of what the note will say word for word. This is when I should have a pad of paper next to my bed to jot it down and then mail it the next day. But too often it slips my mind and I never do it. Man, what a missed opportunity to be blessed by blessing someone else!

I pray my kids have a heart to encourage and there are a few ways that Ben and I do that…

We need to find ways to encourage our kids daily.

We have a discipline chart we have used with Davis in the past. It’s one where as he disobeys, he loses certain privileges (wearing costumes, playing with toys during rest time, watching tv, etc). And it worked like a charm! But my favorite part of the whole chart was the section that you filled out at the end of the day. After the kids go to bed, you erase all of the X’s that they received and you wrote in one good thing they did that day. When Davis woke up, he always wanted to know what we thought he did great. He loved to be encouraged! And it doesn’t have to be something huge that they did. Sometimes it was as simple as, “Davis, thanks for taking your dishes to the sink without me asking. I really appreciate how responsible you are.” And then sit back and watch them grin from ear to ear!

We need to correct them when they use discouraging words.

For those of us with young kids, we need to constantly be teaching our kids what it looks like and sounds like when we encourage someone and when we don’t. This is especially true in our world today. People will say things in a joking manner to be funny and it ends up cutting the other person down and discouraging their heart. So let’s train them at home! When I hear the kids say something discouraging to each other or to us, we stop them right then. And here is the process we use…

  • We ask them if what they said was encouraging or discouraging. Of course they know at this point that they are busted!
  • Then I say, “God tells us to encourage…”, and they finish, “one another daily.” We are speaking truth into their lives!
  • They have to apologize to the person for being discouraging to them.
  • And this is what we think is the key ingredient…they have to SAY SOMETHING ENCOURAGING to the person. And it can’t just be, “I love you”…Davis tried this one a few times. Instead it has to be a true encouragement that they share!

We need to give them opportunities to encourage others.

Do you see how the verse above says to encourage as long as it is called today? That means, DON’T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW! So find opportunities for your kids to see you encourage someone or help them to encourage someone. At one point when Davis was a little younger and we were learning the alphabet, we would think of someone’s name who started with the letter we were learning that week and then we would do something for them. So for the letter C, we might make cookies for Casey. It’s that easy! And as I’m typing this, I think I need to bring this back to the family calendar so my daughter can experience it too!

So let’s keep our hearts soft!

Don’t miss the second part of the verse, “…so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Encouraging people keeps our heart soft! It helps to take the focus off of us and onto others!

So let’s go find someone today to love on and don’t forget to involve your kids!! And let me know what you did so we can learn from each other.