Home, home on the range....
Where the deer and the antelope play...
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.
What is it about our home that makes it special? It's safe, secure and supportive...or it should be. When your home is filled with discouraging people (or your life is), it can be difficult to become rejuvenated, rested and ready to take on the day. The rest of the world can be against you, but if those who are supposed to support us are negative, challenging and difficult, it can make life more stressful.
Do you have people in your life who are discouraging? Do you have to deal with them on a daily basis? There are several ways in which people can discourage us.
1. Not listening when we want to share good news
2. Not encouraging us to seek out a better life, situation, condition
3. Being negative or challenging every fact, word or concept that comes out of our mouths
4. Making it difficult to do what we need to especially during a difficult situation
5. Discouraging us from asking questions and, instead, making us feel dumb for asking
Sometimes other people aren't the only ones in our lives with a discouraging word. How can WE be discouraging to others?
1. Downplaying other people's accomplishments
2. Pointing out how their ideas won't/can't work
3. Questioning every aspect of their plan before they have a chance to present it
4. Making them feel like they are swimming upstream when having a conversation with us
5. Shooting down their ideas before you've even heard them.
6. Not giving them the time of day to listen
"Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."
How many times have we had a discouraging word for others and not even have noticed that we were making things difficult for them? Were we just too busy with our own lives to listen to Jim when he shared what was troubling him? Did we fail to take the time to build him up, support him? Did we allow Angela to speak her mind before we shut the door on her because the first words out of her mouth didn't sound interesting enough? Did we brush off little Johnny because he couldn't get the words out fast enough and we had better things to do? Did we make only a minimal effort to show appreciation to Mrs. Jones for all her help with the church picnic?
Sometimes we simply don't realize how our half-hearted "thank yous" and hurried "that's nices" feel to the one on the receiving end of our harried communication unless we, ourselves, have been the recent victim of a discouraging word. May we always remember the words of our Lord: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer. Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula. You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com. For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com
NOTE: Stay tuned next week for part two on how to handle discouraging people more effectively!