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Be a Builder-Upper – Boos or Bouquets?

Happy BirthdayKey Bible Verse:  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement. Ephesians 4:29

Bonus Reading:  Proverbs 15:23; 16:24

When Jacques Plante, the great National Hockey League goalie, retired, someone asked him how he had liked being a goalie.  He quipped, “How would you like a job where if you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?”

Families, and churches, can be like that.

We have a family birthday tradition I really love—a kind of “rite of affirmation.”  The way it works is simple.  We bombard the birthday person with compliments.

If it’s my daughter, Mary, being celebrated, I tell her I love the way she laughs so hard that tears squirt out her eyes like little saline projectiles. I let her know what a thoughtful, interesting person she is, how I love her kindness, and what a pleasure it is to take a walk with her.

Her mother, brothers, and friends also speak their appreciation. She grows quiet and warm and even more beautiful. And her eyes show how hungrily her heart drinks it in.

She’s enlarged in her soul, made deeper and stronger. Although she and her brothers are now young adults, they still respond the same way. So does my wife. So do I. This kind of grace evokes joyful gratitude in all who hear.

—Ben Patterson in He Has Made Me Glad

My Response:  I’ll tell one family member what I admire and love about him or her.

Adapted from He Has Made Me Glad (InterVarsity, 2005)

Prayer for the Week:  Lord, please help me become a motivator of others by the way I affirm, patiently challenge, and encourage them.

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