The Importance of Encouragement

I bet if you googled that title, you’d find dozens of blog posts and articles with the same name. It came to me that I wanted to write about it anyway because of something that happened a week ago that blessed me and made me realize how true this is.

I have a big family (surprise!) and we don’t shy away from taking all eight kids to various services and events with us, even though it sometimes means we miss half of a sermon or have to sit out some of the activities. Last weekend was our local missions fest, which we attend annually as long as we’re in town. Thankfully they provide childcare up to age twelve so for the small sessions, we only had the baby and the oldest kids with us.

During one of the breaks, I bumped into my kids’ Sunday School teacher, who took the time to tell me that she thinks my kids are both nurturing and responsible. This is such a sweet and specific comment to make, and I agree with it. She mentioned how they all look out for each other and take care of the little ones. Having so many boys, I am particularly blessed by comments like these, because having kind hearted sons has always been my hope.

For the evening service, we had all of them sitting with us about five rows back from the front. Mike and I were in and out a bit with Simon and Lucas and while the older kids were quiet and listening, I noticed every little sound the younger kids made and shushed them repeatedly.

After the service, a man with four kids who are older than all of ours came over to talk to me and said that he was very impressed with our kids and loved seeing us all together at events like this. He had been sitting right in front of us and said he actually enjoyed hearing little voices and feet bumping the back of his chair. He was a single father when his oldest two were young and we talked about the challenges of bringing kids to things like this but how good it was for them and even for other people to see.

From my perspective, as their mother, I noticed (and sometimes inwardly cringed) every time they didn’t listen or were too loud, but that was not the view of these two people at least, and thankfully they took the time to tell me.

All that to say, if you see people with their kids – whether there is one or ten – and you have a kind thought, share it. Even if it’s just to say, “you’re doing a good job.” It matters, and for parents in the trenches bringing up small children or teenagers, it could turn their day around.

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