The Art of Pie

Part 2 of 4
By Pastor Dave

          The P is for Praise.  We just don’t praise people enough – our children, our spouses, the people that we work with and especially teenagers who really need it.  In fact we all need it.  I am not talking about flattery or manipulating through kind words to get something but just plain honest praise.  Examples:  you did a good job, congrats this is something you are really good at, how you solved that situation was great, you know the great quality I see in you is …, or how you stood up and did the right thing.  Why is it so painful to say small statements like this?  When I have honestly done this and given honest praise to someone that deserved it, I have watched their confidence grow right in front of me.

          So many lives have been destroyed by hurtful mean comments.  Teachers especially need to realize they hold the future of their students in their hands and can crush the human spirit in one statement.  We should give private criticism as much as possible and public praise as much as possible.  Some people are so crushed in the spirit that when someone praises them they get angry because they are waiting for the shoe to drop and they are just going to be set up to be crushed again.  Honest praise takes some getting used to.  The art of praise begins with a conscious effort to look for the good qualities and good things people do and then tell them.  It is so easy to look at what is negative about people or what irritates you about them.  We should look for the good in people.

          Secondly, to do this we may have to look at our motives in life.  We may not praise people close to us because we think they will get a big head.  Yes, it is a pain to deal with people who get big heads but you will find that most people need some good honest praise.  Maybe we don’t praise them because we are jealous and it is so hard to see someone else get the praise which is why we see so many insecure people bragging on themselves and can’t praise others because they crave the attention themselves.  Or maybe if we praise someone they may grow free from their co-dependency on us in some warped negative way and they won’t need us anymore.  If used in a genuine way, praise is the best way to build up the people in our every day relationships.

          So many people lack confidence, feel that no one cares about them, or have a fear of failure or ridicule that limits them in their potential.  Genuine praise unlocks that door and you will see a new person emerge.  For some people that door has been locked for a long time and is probably rusted shut.  So praise may take a while before that door is opened.  If you use this in the workplace, people will work harder, be more loyal to the cause and begin to dream and take on more responsibilities.  There is also time you will begin to see some rare hidden talents that might never have been discovered because someone took time to praise them and try to bring out the best in them.  Every teacher should have this tool of praise in their tool box because they have the power to give good honest praise to someone privately or publicly or crush a spirit with their words.  Remember these words.  They are so important.  A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver (Proverbs 25:11).

To be continued ………………..

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