Among the definitions of the word encouragement that I came across while preparing this post was: to give support, confidence or hope to someone. This implies that this person has given up or is about to give up on something. Your encouragement can be given in words or as attention or as a reward and helps to keep the person on the path. Children need more encouragement than adults but we all need it. Parents, teachers and friends are always there for us to motivate us to want to do better and to want to give more. As we grow older it becomes clearer that if you want anything enough you have to encourage yourself first.
As I write now, I am being reminded of the three modes of encouragement. In the ancient Greek games held every four years at Olympia, the winners were given a victory crown of wild olive leaves and an olive branch. In my culture: the Ganda culture of Uganda, mothers used to tie locally made metallic ankle bracelets known as endege on young children to encourage them to learn to walk. The sound made by the bracelet as the child moved around would encourage the child to stay up on her/his feet.
In my teenage years, I was a passionate athlete and was a member of the School Athletics team for some years. Winners in the National School Athletics championships were given book vouchers from the then Uganda Bookshop. I can vividly recall the days when my father would drive me to the bookshop and leave me there for some hours to chose the story books I wanted to buy. I always felt like a kid in a toy shop! At the same time, the best class students in each school subject were presented with books at the end of the year. Thankfully, I was able to collect a number of these and this fuelled my passion for the written word up to today.
All children need to hear adults complement them on what they are doing right and to be taught that failure is part of success and therefore should never allow themselves to be defined by one particular event. For any child, being given encouragement in the form of attention or presence is terribly important. As long as you are present especially for a school event in which he/she is performing; it hardly makes any difference whether he is Joseph, the carpenter or just a tree among the many in the forest. As a reward, a mother’s or father’s simple smile always does the magic.
The psychologist tell us that a child has both physical needs like food, shelter and air and core emotional needs:approval,affirmation and acknowledgement to grow into a well-balanced individual. When the parents or caregivers and our friends provide us with these needs, we all feel good about ourselves and it brings out the best in us. Our parents’ approval, love and acceptance condition us to seek approval from others. Away from home, we seek for these from friends, spouses and coworkers. They give us an emotional sense of security and free us to be ourselves and to effectively engage fully in the world around us.
I have been around for a while and have come to understand that the need for approval, affirmation and acknowledgement never stops. We look for these needs throughout our lives. Each time I post an article on the Blog, I wait patiently and excitedly for comments from the readers. When I get some, I am encouraged to write more posts and to write better too. Sometimes I reward myself with a treat after a hard day’s work.
One encouraging quote by an unknown author says: “ Set your goals high enough to inspire you and low enough to encourage you.’’
Catherine Pulsifer, an inspirational writer says: “ A gift that costs no money but one that costs time and your attention is giving some words of encouragement.’’
You and I can go around building up people; it will create happier and more confident people.
Thank you for visitng my Blog and reading this post. May it stimulate you into encouraging those around you every day. I would be very grateful for a comment about this post and others. Feel free to share the posts with family and friends.