the thing that can make your life feel like a balloon
ride? What brings you the sensation of floating free,
silently carried by the wind? What lifts your spirits
and allows you to overcome difficulties? The answer is
very simple: Encouragement.
right, encouragement. Not success. Knowing that
our efforts are appreciated is more important than being
successful. Encouragement removes the burdens we carry
and allows us to go on with confidence. Hemingway is
supposed to have said that confidence is the memory of past
success, and I agree that success can beget success. But
think about very young children: They don't have any
past successes. If we need success to be successful,
then how did any of us ever learn to walk? What made you
get up again, each time you fell?
got up and tried again because your parents held out their
hands and encouraged you to try. "You can make
it," they said. Walk. Use a spoon. Ride
a bike. Think of the things you learned because your
parents encouraged you. Watch a child learn to crawl,
walk and play ball again after surgery for a brain tumor, and
you'll see how important encouragement is.
element in encouragement is to stop being judgmental.
The important thing isn't the grade your son got; it's the
effort he put out. It isn't whether your daughter hit a
home run; it's that she went up to the plate and took a
swing. The effort is what matters, because as long as we
are trying we are fulfilling our mission. "Examine
me, O Lord, and try me," the Psalmist wrote. . . .
children are better than they think. What kind of mirror
do we hold up to them? Do we point out all their faults
and problems, or do we point out their beauty and
successes? What do you say to your kids when they walk
out the door? Stand up straight? Fix your
pants? Did you forget your lunch or your books? Do
you ever say, "You're a beautiful person. God and I are
proud of you."
friend tells me he tries to encourage his children, but his
fourteen-year-old daughter doesn't believe him when he tells
her how wonderful she is. Two-year-olds don't doubt you
when you hold out your hands and tell them they can walk, but
it can be trickier encouraging older children or spouses or
adult friends. Giving encouragement, like other forms of
loving, sometimes requires creativity. . . .
a prescription for encouraging the people you love: Say
good things about them to their faces and behind their
backs. And don't worry about exaggerating. An
overdose of love has no recorded adverse side effects.
This book is a continuation of the work
I began when I became Bernie. It is a collection of
stories about how to deal with life's difficulties. Most
of the people in these stories have not had the great
wake-up call; that is, they are mot facing
life-threatening illnesses. So in a sense, this book is
preventive medicine. It is a prescription for living that
gives you effective and healthy ways of dealing with the
adversity that occurs in everyone's life.