I am reading John Maxwell's book, 25 Ways to Win With People.
It has been an eye opener. I've tried to be encouraging in the past and pray for God to give me a more compassionate (vs. a critical) heart, but as I have begun reading this book I started to take a good long look at the way I talk with people, including my own family members. Now, this is not to say John advocates shallow, insincere praise where it is not due, but he is very purposeful when looking for the best in people and then acknowledging it. Many times, I've thought wonderful things about people and never followed through with it for a variety of reasons. Too busy, too distracted, here's one....too embarrassed. Yes, it can be embarrassing sometimes to say something affirming to someone who may be slightly intimidating or .....annoying......but, God made EVERYONE in His image so there is something to be recognized as significant in each person He has created. Yes, even that lady who makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up should be encouraged and affirmed just as much as my best buds. In fact, sometimes those are the people who need to hear it the most because no one else ever tells them anything positive.
Especially as a mom, I want to be able to be more specific in my praise and encouragement. Even more specific with it than I am when I give a 10-minute dissertation on how to correctly clean and organize the playroom. I plan to choose my words even more carefully from now on and sometimes even choose not to say anything at all (boy, is that a tough one!).