“Be strong and of good courage.” Dt 31:6 NKJV
In The Miracle Worker, Helen Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, tried again and again to teach the concept of words. The gifted tutor worked tirelessly to draw out of Helen the treasures buried deep inside her. She literally “willed” Helen to succeed. Watching this powerful play, you see Helen begin to blossom and develop gifts that would inspire the world for generations to come. Understand this: God uses the encouraging words, actions and attitudes we direct at each other to strengthen our inner resolve to succeed. But to be effective, your praise should be immediate, specific, and genuine. Dr. William Mayo, co-founder of the famous Mayo Clinic, used praise to encourage young doctors. One of them said: “You’d read a paper at a staff meeting and afterwards he’d see you in the elevator or the hall, and would shake your hand and put his hand on your shoulder with a quiet, ‘Good work,’ and a straight, warm look that made you think he meant it. Or perhaps a day or two later you’d get a note from him, just a short one, saying something like, ‘Dear ________, I learned more about _________ from that paper of yours the other night than I ever knew before. It was a good job.’ Believe me, a fellow prized those notes.” Praise, practical help, encouragement—all of these flow out of us naturally and genuinely when we begin to see, as Anne Sullivan saw, the untapped potential buried inside each individual. That’s why the Bible says: “Let everything you say be…helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Eph 4:29 NLT).
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