Here at Stoneybrooke, it’s the first week of school. You have been stockpiling supplies for weeks. Now its time to pack those lunches, find the backpacks, arrange the shelf with shoes and hide a few snacks in the car.
But it’s also a great time to think through some family themes for the year. Prayerfully one of those themes is ENCOURAGEMENT.
Believe it or not, it takes a great deal of effort to learn. Students take a risk when they raise their hand to share an answer. It takes a lot of initiative to sit down next to someone new at lunch. It’s hard to choose a partner during PE.
I saw a quote from a French writer that said, “Nine tenths of education is encouragement.” And I believe that. But the kids aren’t the only ones who need encouragement. Parents do, teachers do, the aides do and even the administrators need a word or two of encouragement.
I did a little word study on encouragement in the Bible. The scriptural root words are interesting. In the Old Testament the primary word means “strong.” It carries the idea of making sure, to be steadfast. In the New Testament, the primary Greek word means to come along side. It is the act of helping.
Sometimes those same terms are translated “to exhort” or “to comfort” or “to edify.” Truthfully, encouragement comes in a variety of forms. Sometimes it’s a quick text to another mom or dad with a silly GIF helping them to chuckle their way through a tough morning.
Sometimes encouragement is a note in a kid’s lunch reminding them of an ice cream date later on in the afternoon. Sometimes encouragement has a bit of tough love mixed up in there as you firmly send that youngster out of the car in the morning… all the while assuring them it’s going to be a great day.
So, this week, let’s all take a few extra minutes to be encouraging. Hug for a few more seconds. Call a friend and share a silly story. Write your child’s teacher a quick note of affirmation. Slip the aide a donut on your way through drive up. Give the administration team a thumbs up. And take time to really listen when the kids come home and unload their day.
Find a way to encourage someone today. As John Maxwell has said, “Man does not live on bread alone, sometimes he needs a little buttering up.”