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Who can you encourage?

Last week I visited with a friend who was struggling. She has two kids under the age of 4 and both she and her husband work from home. As if that stage of life isn't hard enough, throw in all the complexities of the pandemic and it's enough to crush a spirit. 

Then, I spoke to my sister and while she no longer has small children, she has a dose of the blues because both of her kids (9 and 15) started virtual school and are missing their friends, missing their teachers and missing all of the traditions and normalcies of the school year. She's sad for them and she's sad for their community.  I can't say that during the two conversations I was able to encourage either of them in the ways I would’ve loved to, with sentiments such as:  "this too shall pass", "hang in there, there's light at the end of the tunnel", etc.  Although I believe "this too shall pass" and there absolutely is "light at the end of the tunnel", those words just didn't seem like they'd be helpful, so I instead tried to listen and affirm their feelings. As a result of those two conversations, I was reminded that encouragement isn’t always reminding someone of their talents, gifts, potential and that “they can do it”, but encouragement is also taking the time to listen, being a sounding board and reminding him/her that you are on their team and are there to climb and conquer the mountain with them.  Sometimes we are the giver of encouragement and sometimes we are the receiver of encouragement.  Sometimes encouragement comes in non-verbals: a hug, first bump, high-five, smile, wink, thumbs up, and being a sounding board. Sometimes encouragement comes in verbal “attagirl/attaboy“ fireworks.  Whether it be verbal or non-verbal encouragement, I encourage you to find someone to encourage, and if you are the one needing the encouragement, I encourage you to tell someone so they can conquer the mountain with you!  Love, Neissa

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