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Why is it that we qualify our praise so much?
“Hey, son, that was a great hit. Next time if you will just turn your hips a little more, it will go even further!”
“I am really proud of you for making that A on the test. If you will just keep it up, maybe you will finally start making some good grades. See what happens when you try?”
Yet so many times we slam our children without any qualification.
“What were you thinking?”
“That wasn’t your brightest moment, was it?”
“Your room looks like a pigsty! I cannot believe how you let this go and don’t even care. Do you realize what this does to me?”
What if we flipped it? What if we gushed our praise without any qualification and made sure we covered our criticism with encouragement?
“Hey great job! I am so proud of you!” Period.
“I am so grateful that you are in our family! God gave us a special gift when he gave us you!” Period.
Hebrews 3:12-13 is a fascinating Scripture on encouragement. It says, “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
When we encourage our children without qualification, it literally opens their hearts up to us and to God. That Scripture tells us we must do it daily (frequently) as long as it is called “Today” (in other words, forever).
We will have more influence with our kids when we give them unqualified praise and then we put encouragement with our criticism.