The Power of Appreciation
"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."1
In Character Counts Michael Josephson shares how the students at Sandy's high school were badly shaken by the news that a classmate had just committed suicide. He left a note saying, "It's hard to live when nobody cares if you die." Realizing this was both a traumatic event that needed to be confronted and a teachable moment, a teacher talked to the students about how important it is that people feel valued. So, he told them to imagine they were about to die. Then he gave an assignment: "Write a note to tell someone how important he or she is to you."
Sandy, who had a rocky relationship with her mother, was especially moved by the idea that she might die without telling her mom how important she was, so she wrote a note: "We've had some rough times and I know I haven't been a very good daughter but I know I'm lucky to have you in my life. You are the best person I've ever known. Thanks for not giving up on me." She told her mom about the assignment and gave her the note. Her mom cried and hugged Sandy but said little.
The next morning Sandy found a note on her mirror. "Dearest daughter," it said, "I want you to know how much you are valued. Being your mother is the most important thing in my life. The truth is I've felt like such a failure I was seriously considering ending it all. I thought you'd be better off without me. Your appreciation makes my life worth living."
Be careful not to underestimate the power of expressed appreciation. As Sandy learned, it can make a big difference.2
Need I say more?
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be an encourager to all the people You bring into my life, and help me always to remember and be thankful for all the encouragement I have received from You. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Hebrews 3:13. (NIV).
2. This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts. www.charactercounts.org.