Building Others Up

I was in the seventh grade.

I was in English class, with Mrs. Holman. We had a pocket folder with brads that served as our “journal,” and every morning, the first ten minutes of class were spent answering a writing prompt that she had written on the board.

Most of my classmates hated it, but it was one of my favorite parts of the whole day. I looked forward to what the prompt might be that day, and I loved going back through the pages, reading what I had written in the months before.

Mrs. Holman was one of the few teachers I ever had that really went out of her way to encourage my writing. I remember the green check marks of approval throughout my paragraphs, her words of praise after turning in big papers, and I remember her pulling my Momma aside at a basketball game one night saying, “Katie has a real gift for writing.” Of course, encouraging and helping uncover student’s gifts is all part of a teacher’s job – I see my husband do it every day with his own students – but for some reason, her encouragement did more than just make me smile… .it made me want to write even more.

I’ve been doing some serious soul searching lately about the words I say to others. I’ve been asking myself questions like, am I being intentional with my conversations? have I taken every opportunity to find the good in others today? did I take the time to let so-and-so know that I see they have a real gift in a certain area?

Sometimes all it takes is a word of encouragement or a reminder of a time when someone really pointed out a gifting. Sometimes it’s something small that we don’t even expect anyone to notice… Just a quick word can make us not only thankful that someone noticed or took the time to lift us up, but make us want to be better. What a gift. Why not take the time to, as my pastor says, catch someone doing something right? You never know what a difference it could make it their life. It might just make such a difference that they end up writing a blog post about it years later (thanks, Mrs. Holman!).

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

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