A commercial that aired during the holiday season is one of my favorites. I remember seeing it before, but it never gets old.
A family attends a concert in a large auditorium. The couple is stunned when they realize that their son is missing. At about the same time they discover that he is missing the curtain on the stage goes up. A young boy is seated at a baby grand piano and begins to play "Chopsticks". The mom tells the dad to go get the boy.
Before that happens the maestro comes out. He tells the lad to keep playing and he adds variations to create a beautiful song that brings thunderous applause from the audience.
We never know what happens to the young boy but it is assumed that he reveled in the encouragement given by the expert. Maybe he went on to be a piano virtuoso. Maybe he went on to be a heart surgeon. It does not matter what happened to him. The significance is in the act of encouragement.
In the role of classroom teacher I had the distinct pleasure of being the one to provide encouragement to many youngsters through the years. When the psychologists told me that I got more out of a student than he had to give, I just shrugged my shoulders. I guess that encouragement paid dividends.
The song "A Spoonful of Sugar" comes to mind. A governess gained respect from her young charges because she treated them with respect. She offered that spoonful of sugar instead of criticism.
In today's world no one wants to take the blame for anything! It is always someone else's fault that something happens. A big company served their coffee too hot. Another large company purposely manufactured cribs that were harmful to infants. A medical supply company manufactured structurally unsound knee or hip replacements.
There is no end to the frivolous lawsuits that are trumped up these days. There is no room for human error. The Bible tells us that all fall short. It was true in history and it is still true today. People make mistakes. We need to acknowledge those mistakes. People are not entitled to exorbitant compensation for pain and suffering or anything else. Companies stake their name on the quality of merchandise they produce, but have had to pay dearly.
Folks, we all pay for this even though the cost may be hidden in the next product that is made by that company. There is no free ride. When someone wins a law suit, it is going to cost everyone money.
Sorry, but this took on a life of its own. Every once in a while that happens. Back to the fine art of encouragement.
We all have the opportunity to minister to others through the fine art of encouragement. How much better things would be if we focused on the positive things that people do instead of the negative ones. Make it a conscious effort to take time to compliment someone for a job well done.
Instead of criticizing a person focus on what was done well. Everything that is done has something positive about it. Find that positive aspect and begin there.
The power of positive thinking is nothing new. I have a copy of a book written by Norman Vincent Peale in 1952 with a renewed copyright of 1978. My copy of this book happens to be the golden anniversary edition. As Dr. Peale expounds on the virtues of facing life with a positive outlook it becomes evident how much attitude plays a part in life.
He includes chapters titled "Believe in Yourself", "How to Create Your Own Happiness", "Expect the Best and Get It", and "How to Break the Worry Habit". This man not only wrote ab out positive thinking he incorporated it into his life successfully.
Negative thinkers cannot fathom that any of this works, but they need to give it a chance before they reject it, because if you believe, it can make a difference.
Be the encourager. Pick someone up when they are down. While you are helping others, you help yourself.
It is the same when it comes to volunteer duties. When you do something to help out another person you are a benefactor as well. It feels good to do something that is useful to others. If you are not currently volunteering your service somewhere, think of where you might like to get involved. Most organizations are thrilled to have new volunteers join their ranks.
Be like the maestro and create a work of art when it is least expected.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org