The first attitude for effective parenting—encouragement—simply means to support, give courage or confidence. Much more than shouting at a player from the side of a football field, or offering some kind and uplifting words to somebody before an examination. But Paul points out that encouragement is an important part of the entire parenting process. In a sense, encouragement is not so much what you say, but rather more about who you are and what you do.The concept of encouragement in the original biblical languages had much more to do with listening than with talking. The greatest encouragement we can give is to listen and understand another person. Listening for understanding is perhaps the most important aspect of encouragement. So if we would encourage our children we must seek to understand them. Conversely, the feeling of not being understood is one of the most discouraging feelings. To point out our child’s failures and bypass the positives in our bid to encourage does more harm than good.
“But, fathers, do not discourage your children. Combine affection with authority, kindness and sympathy with firm restraint. Give some of your leisure hours to your children; become acquainted with them; associate with them in their work and in their sports, and win their confidence. Cultivate friendship with them . . . . In this way you will be a strong influence for good” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 391).
“Home should be a place where cheerfulness, courtesy, and love abide; and where these graces dwell, there will abide happiness and peace. Troubles may invade, but these are the lot of humanity. Let patience, gratitude, and love keep sunshine in the heart, though the day may be ever so cloudy. In such homes angels of God abide”
(The Ministry of Healing, p.393).
“No barrier of coldness and reserve should be allowed to arise between parents and children. Let parents become acquainted with their children, seeking to understand their tastes and dispositions, entering into their feelings, and drawing out what is in their hearts” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 394).
“Parents, let your children see that you love them and will do all in your power to make them happy. If you do so, your necessary restrictions will have far greater weight in their young minds” (The Ministry of Healing, p.394).