Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD..."did you roger that?"

Some people think that reprimanding or threats will bring the best out in people. I read recently a quote from a biographer who shared what the success was for Gandhi in working with people.

"He refused to see the bad in people. He often changed human beings by regarding them not as what they were but as though they were what they wished to be, and as though the good in them was all of them." -LOUIS FISCHER, a Gandhi biographer

Now that describes someone who was a great affirmer of people. Paul was also a great affirmer of people. Almost every book that Paul wrote, he starts out with affirming the people of the church that he is writing to.

1 THESSALONIANS 1:2,3 "We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. (3) We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

Wouldn't it be awesome, if in every conversation we had, we started it out with affirming the other person, just like Paul did?

How would that change your ministry?
How would it change your church?
Would it change your attitude?

George Barna, founder of a Christian marketing research company said this about "turn around" churches: "a bit of celebration and appreciation regarding true ministry can help maintain an active and happy congregation."

Could it be that Barna's findings could also work in other areas of our lives?

~In child rearing, how much more successful is affirming what our children do right vs. jumping all over them for doing the wrong stuff?

~On the job site, how much more beneficial is it to affirm an employees strong abilities vs. zeroing in on their weaknesses?

Putting Barna's theory to the test...
  • Would you rather attend a church that bickers about everything everyone is doing wrong or attend a church where no matter how small - success is celebrated!

  • Would you rather be involved in a ministry that focuses on what has not worked in the past or work with a group of people who see outside the box?

  • Would you gravitate towards a friend who encourages you and lifts you up or a friend that tears you down and finds fault in everything you do?

When people do not affirm each other's successes, but only find criticism - you will get discouraged. You will feel like "why even try". You may feel like nothing you do is ever good enough.

I personally experienced this recently. Someone was trying to give me some constructive criticism but instead of affirming me ... all I heard was criticism. I didn't do a good job. I should have done that differently. There must be a better way. Even though I knew the heart of the one giving me the criticism and it was with pure motive, it all came out wrong. There was no affirmation.

It tore me down.
It left me discouraged.
I felt defeated.

and worse yet, it was said in front of my kids.

"Did you roger that?"

It was done in front of my kids!
Affirming one another goes beyond just the person you are speaking to.

Last week, in the YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I asked the readers the following question: "How would you rate yourself on how you affirm others?" The top 3 responses were:

1. 55% of those voting said that they are both a perfectionist and an affirmer. Doing it differently at different times.
2. 38% of the readers said that they are "affirmers" - they like to catch people doing right!
3. 5% who voted (thank you for your honesty) said that they are perfectionists and they tend to tell people what they can do better.

Paul seemed to realize that people work best when they feel good about themselves and what they have accomplished. That still holds true. We need to reclaim Paul's ministry of affirmation.

MAY WE AFFIRM ONE ANOTHER... did you roger that?

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD is a post once a week designated to sharing my thoughts of a current personal study that I am doing. Currently, I am studying ways that I can leave a legacy for those in my world. Thank you for joining me on this journey this week! It is my prayer that you will look for the positive in others and be a "people affirmer".

YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL: Please take time to vote in this weeks poll. You can find it on the side bar of the blog. Your opinion really does matter and you will find your input in next weeks Wednesday Weekly Word post!


Beth in NC said...

Hi Friend.

I'm sorry you were torn down by someone recently.

I pray that I remember your post the next time I go to share a comment about something someone does wrong.

I was a good girl the other day and didn't way a word when my sweet hubby tracked in mud after I had cleaned the floor. I need to hold my tongue more often.

But you are right, we should encourage, not discourage.

Many blessings!

Laurie Ann said...

Laurie, affirmation and encouragement is so needed in today's world. I'm so glad you wrote this post and pray that many respond. Interestingly, I never read the comics, but this morning while I was waiting on my waffles to pop up I grabbed yesterday's paper someone had left on the breakroom table. I glanced at Dennis the Menace to see if he had changed. He hadn't. His father was pointing his finger at him and, I'm paraphrasing, but Dennis said, in effect, "I don't need a good talking to, I need to be listed to." We can affirm and encourage others just by listening. And when we do need to offer those words of criticism (I'm not a criticizer - I just can't do it, LOL) we need to make sure it's not done in front of others. I'm so sorry someone, no matter how pure their motives may have been, did this in front of your children. Your children should see you being affirmed and encouraged. I'm sure what they noticed more was your response, though. I love you, my friend! Your post was right on target!

teachingmum1970 said...

Hi Laurie,
I've lurked until now but just wanted to post a virtual "pat on the shoulder" for the time at which you were criticized in front of your children. I am a teacher in a Catholic primary school and a few weeks ago I was verbally abused by a parent of one of my students in front of my own two boys. It was heart-breaking to explain to a 5 year old "why the lady was so mad at Mummy".
I'm trying to affirm people but finding it a challenge as I fight with anxiety and depression.
I'm especially using affirmations with my kids!