Be A Cheerleader-Not A Critic
“Two-four-six-eight-Who do we appreciate?” Have you ever cheered someone on or had someone cheer you on with this phrase? It feels good! This world can be a beat-down most of the time. When our family members get home our words and actions to them can either be critical or cheer them on to great things.
Have you ever worked really hard on a project only to have the person who you thought would be so proud of you be critical with their first words? It can be devastating. When our children or our spouse works to complete a project, wash the dishes, run an errand for us, cook a meal, fold the laundry, clean out a closet or a myriad of other projects and we greet the final product with “good job but you really should have……,” It can make an imprint on them that we don’t want. An imprint that says they aren’t good enough because they didn’t do it our way. There is a time for teaching someone how to do something, but when they have worked hard to make us proud and we respond with criticism, it can take many, many, many words of encouragement to neutralize the negative from just that one event.
On p.236 of Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, author Stephen Covey says, “When people have done their best, whether it has met your standards or not is irrelevant. That is the time to give them appreciation and praise. When someone has completed a major task or project, or has accomplished something that required supreme effort, always express admiration, appreciation, and praise. Never give negative feedback-even though it may be deserved and even though you do it in a constructive way and with good motives in order to help the person do better. Give constructive feedback at a later time when the person is ready for it.”
That was hard for me to read, but so good for me to hear. I think we are all guilty of being critical at some point with our family. Proverbs 25:11 states, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” We need to lean into the Holy Spirit and listen for the right time for constructive criticism and when the time is for pure cheerleading!
I read a book years ago about being a “balcony person" or a “cellar dweller” in people’s lives. The author, Joyce Landorf Heatherley, talked about being someone who leans over the balcony to be a cheerleader in people’s lives or a basement person who drags them down with their consistent criticism. I want to be a balcony person for my family!
I sent my son-in-love a text this week with the cheer at the top of this blog. I’m sure he thought it was a little dramatic to be sent a text that starts with a cheer but I followed it up with telling him how proud I am of how he is leading my daughter as they endeavor to follow the Lord together. Do I agree with every single decision they are making? No. Is it still right for me to cheer them on with my words and actions? YES! People may think you are a little crazy when you cheer them on but in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 we are called to “encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” If encouraging your people does not come easily to you and you more naturally go to criticism, ask the Lord to help you stop before you speak and temper your words to your family. We have the power to tear down or build up with our words (Prov. 14:1, 18:1) Let’s build the emotional bank account of our families by cheering each other on!
Primary Education Principal
Logos Preparatory Academy