Saturday, July 03, 2010

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success”

What is best, praise or encouragement?

I believe we learn more from encouragement. Someone wrote in an article about parenting about the danger of too much praise, especially empty praise. The writer gave the example of a mother watching her son play T-ball. He just stood there and never making an effort to swing the bat and hit the ball. Still, she called out, “Good swing, Son. Good swing.”
Did that little boy learn anything? Well, he learned that success didn’t involve his trying. And, as you know, this could hurt him in the future.

The author suggested the parents of this little boy use encouragement instead. To say to him, “Tough day out there wasn’t it Son? When we get home, let’s practice before supper. We can do this everyday before the next game.”

What is more important, praise or encouragement that comes in the form of gratitude?

I don’t know about you, but gratitude does it for me. We all need to hear what we did right—especially those of us who are parents. Every day holds plenty of reminders of things we could have done better, but to be told what we did right (without having to ask) and the positive impact we had on someone’s life will lift our spirits like nothing else can! Gratitude chases away the black clouds over our heads.

What is more important, praise or encouragement that helps others reach their fullest potential?

 While praise offers a momentary bright moment, encouragement changes things. Many of us have a preconceived impression of our limitations and ourselves that paralyzes us. However, those with unprejudiced vision may see what we’ve missed and encourage us to try, to do, and to move. Their encouragement and help breaks our paralysis.
Am I saying praise isn’t important? No. Sincere, honest, praise is (as Martha Stewart says) a good thing. But encouragement puts “hands and feet” on praise and changes circumstances and people.

My hope for you this week is that someone encourages you. I also hope that you will look for an opportunity to encourage others. 

1 comment:

Claire said...

Very interesting distinction. My mama always told me to find something nice to say about everything and everyone. If something was done badly, then find a tiny bit that was done well and encourage that achievement. Praise for a job that isn't done well means nothing.