“Small Encouragements”

“Small Encouragements”

March 1, 2017

Growing up in Colorado, I understand the significance of cold and snow. While unusual, I remember snow falling on both Labor Day and Memorial Day. Do the math on that and you have a long winter.

January was usually rugged, but when February arrived, the hours of daylight increased noticeably and our hope of springtime grew. But the real evidence came when the crocuses bloomed – usually in April or May. We could still get snow, but springtime would soon dominate.

Those crocus blooms were tiny, but they were a big encouragement and they made a lasting impact on my perspective. So it was not surprising that when I looked out my office window last week and saw crocus blooms, I wanted to shout. Compared to much of the world, our winters are mild, but this year set some cold and snow records. I am more than ready for warmth and sunshine. Those small flowers were a big encouragement to me.

It is fun to watch the response of people when we pay them an appropriate compliment or affirm some action we observed. Perhaps they get more negative than positive comments, so our small gesture has a big impact. When we tell a waitress that we noticed how well she handled an impatient customer, our small encouragement might mean more than a tip – as important as that is.

Active children often find themselves hearing negative comments. Unfortunately, those comments might outweigh affirmations, so it is fun to look for honest evidence of good behavior and compliment them. Those small encouragements, shared over time, can turn a challenging child into a productive and joyful little person.

I wonder how many strained marriage and family relationships would change quickly if each person gave two compliments for every criticism. Those small encouragements – like crocus blooms – might make a major difference in the atmosphere and enjoyment of that home.

Pastor Bill Ehmann

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