Did you know yesterday was National Day of Encouragement? In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, the apostle Paul tells the church to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Encouragement was God’s idea! That’s why we ought to be instilling it in our children. Here’s how.
Point your kids to Jesus. Encouragement starts in the heart, and the only way to fill a heart with good things is by inviting Jesus to dwell within it.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).
Teach them to think of others. It’s tough to encourage someone else if all you’re doing is thinking about yourself. Establish an environment of humility and generosity in your home. Serve others. Pray for others. Show your kids that caring about other people is important and fun. Then they will be primed to “rejoice with those who rejoice” and “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3–4).
Practice encouraging words. Compliments and kudos may not come naturally to every child. Make a habit of speaking encouraging words in your family so these types of conversations become ingrained in their character. For example, at dinner time, have everyone go around the table and say something nice about the person sitting on their left. Talk about the troubles or successes the kids are having in school and nudge siblings to voice their support.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).
Be your child’s cheerleader. The best way to teach encouragement is by giving encouragement. Tweens in today’s world are up against a lot of discouraging voices and ideas. Be the safe place where your kids will hear truth—that God created them, values them, and loves them no matter what. And so do you.
“…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17–19).