In a recent conversation with my aunt who is a reading specialist (for lack of official title) for elementary children, she said that children need at least 30 praises a day.  <<< Take a minute to let that settle in your mind…30 praises a day…

This comment was made as we discussed how much better children perform when they feel successful.  They’re more motivated to do something if they have confidence doing it.  That makes total sense to me.  Positive reinforcement is especially important for our developing children.

Hmm…I’m an encouraging person who tries to be positive and bring out the best in my children, and I do try to praise them, but how many times a day do I give them praise?  And now that I think about it, how often do I praise my husband?  And what about myself? 

You see, we’re all children.  We’re all God’s children.  We all have a need to love and be loved and all of us feel better, perform better, and see the world from a better perspective when we feel confident, successful, and have a postivie self-image.

I’ve also heard that you should give your children two positives for every negative you give them.   What does this mean?  Well, as adults, it’s inevitable that we will have to reprimand, scold, and maybe even punish our children or those we teach or tend to.  Believe it or not, rebuking and reprimanding – when done out of love and in a loving way –  are part of the Spiritual gift of exhortation (being an encourager, coming alongside others to help them along or lift them up).  Sometimes we have to point out or correct other’s faults to help them perform better or to be better people.  If you spend a day with a child of any age, you will undoubtedly have to remind them of something, correct them, or reprimand them about something – probably several times in a day.  So, for every negative you say, it is recommended to also say two positive things.  

With these things in mind, how are you doing so far today?  Did you give your children a few words of praise or encouragement before sending them off to school today?  What about your spouse, loved ones, others you’ve encountered or spoken with?  Did you build them up with positive words?  What about yourself?  Are you latching onto the positives about yourself and respectfully acknowledging the negatives in a way that will help you along?  Or are you letting the negatives of the world take over your sense of well-being? 

A few years ago I made it a point not to scold my children off to school.  I was finding myself lecturing my son on his way out the door about not keeping shoes together and faulting them for the things they were or weren’t doing that caused us to be harried or late getting ready for school.  Then I realized 1) I’m the mom.  It’s ultimately MY responsibilty to have us organized and able to have smooth mornings.  2) If they really did do something that warranted correction, I’d save it for after school.  Why send them off feeling defeated or bad about themselves before their days had even begun?  I came to this realization one morning as I saw my child ‘sink’ inside then watched as he left with his shoulders slumped and his gaze cast downward.   You might expect the rest of the world to do this to him, but not his own mother!  His father and I are the ones he’s supposed to be able to count on to help him along and lift him up!  Boy, did I have a lot of thinking to do that day!

Ok.  Back to the praises…30 praises a day for children… husband?…others?…self?…and most importantly, what about GOD?  

When it comes to the other people in your life, maybe you don’t have to give all 30.  Hopefully your children are getting praises from their teachers and other loved ones.  Regarding self…same thing goes.  Hopefully you’re receiving AND ACCEPTING praises and encouragements from others.  If not, give yourself your own encouragements and affirmations of good things about yourself, and let the Bible help you, too! 

As for the 30 praises for God…that’s something you have to do yourself.  It might sound  like a lot, but it should be easy!  Look around you!  God created this world and all living things!  Give praises for the skies, the weather, the beauty of nature (even if you have to look at pictures – I keep nature photos of different places and web cams of NC on my homepage to enjoy every day).  What about the MANY blessings in your life?  More reasons for praise!  How has God been present in your life?  More reasons for praise!  The more you praise, the more reasons you’ll have to give praise. 

What does the Bible say about all this?  Plenty.  Here’s a few verses for a sampling:

Let us consider how to stimulate one another to and good deeds.  Hebrews 10:24

Here’s a good one:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.   Ephesians 4:29

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.  Proverbs 12:18

Could you use a praise for yourself?  Here’s one for you.  Whether or not I know you, I know there is beauty and goodness in you.  You are one of God’s own creations.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done that might not be good, YOU have goodness inside you.  As such, I think you’re a great person and appreciate your stopping by to visit at this site.  Please come back again!

For related reading see previous post titled, “Your Tongue, Does It Woo or Wound?”, in April 2007 archives (posted 4-17-2007).

God bless you!  Love,