“Accentuate the positive..”
So sang Balou the Bear in Walt Disney's “Jungle Book”.
It took a radical change of career, to learn the value of looking for the positive to be encouraged,
before offering carefully considered, constructive criticism.
Having spent almost thirty years in an accounts environment, my antennae were honed at spotting errors from an auditing point of view. And rightly so; I was employed to spot mistakes, to avoid over-payments to suppliers or on staff expenses.
Now my new sphere of work as a Learning Support Assistant in a class of children with Special Needs, necessitated a complete re-think. On looking at a piece of work, I would automatically see the mistakes, and initially I probably pointed them out first. I soon learned that these children in particular needed bucket-loads of encouragement to create an environment in which they could do their very best.
So I learned to begin with “Well done..that's really good..what a great idea..you're really good at...” and so on. Only then would some minor correction or improvement be suggested; “How about..
what if..have you thought of..”. This encouraging environment benefited the Staff too. Whilst at the School, I found the confidence to write poetry on a regular basis, first for the classroom and assemblies and now for Church and the Faithwriters community. Confidence begets confidence.
Translate this change of approach into a Church environment, and we could all offer a lot more praise and encouragement, with the result that people will grow and be willing to take risks. This will lead to greater creativity in worship and evangelism, releasing the potential in each member of the Church family, young and old.
So let our natural response to a new idea be something of the order, “That's brilliant..yes we could do something along those lines..” encouraging people to come forward with exciting possibilities.
Too many people have been brought up in homes where risk was discouraged; “Don't do that.. don't go there..”. My mother was fairly insecure herself for very valid reasons, so she wasn't able to provide a “Go for it!” response when I wanted to try something new. We would be discouraged rather than encouraged. My teenage reaction to this was to get a Scholarship to an Outward Bound course, and do every scary activity on offer!
In the past few years I have been in a very supportive Church, with a particularly encouraging Vicar
and Choir Director. As a result I am now studying as a Reader (Church of England for lay Preacher)
and pursuing my interest in writing. I have just finished editing a third collaboration of poetry.
One of the most satisfying projects was the production of a book of poetry, complete with illustrations, by the Junior Church in Aid of “Love Russia” a charity supporting Russian Orphanages.
Exactly twelve months ago, a young member approached me with a poem she had written for
Remembrance Day, and it was a particular joy to hear her recite it in the Sunday service.
Encouragement..the very stuff which literally adds the courage we all need to grow, so that we use our God-given gifts and fulfill our God-given potential.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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