Two, Four, Six, Eight; Who Do We Appreciate? – Doghouse Blues
Key Bible Verse: We were as gentle among you as a mother feeding and caring for her own children. – 1 Thessalonians 2:7
Bonus Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:5-8
After we’d been married for a year, Steve and I decided we’d get a puppy. McPherson, a young, untrained German shepherd/Australian shepherd mix, had a lot to learn. So did we.
Like all puppies, McPherson loved to chew. He chewed on Steve’s work boots until he put a hole in one. We showed him the shoe and scolded, “Bad dog!” He looked at us with his big, brown puppy eyes and slunk away.
Another time I was baking a special pie for Steve. McPherson jumped up at the table and swiped the mixing bowl with his paw. Sticky, sweet apples splattered across the kitchen floor. Again I yelled, “bad dog!” and shooed him outside. We yelled at McPherson a lot more than we hugged him. Soon his puppy spirit was broken. He didn’t play with us as much. He no longer looked us in the eyes with his puppy smile.
We finally realized we were doing things wrong and asked others for advice. McPherson, they told us, needed to hear “good dog” to know what he was doing right. He needed more approval than correction, and the correction should be gentle. We took the advice. Soon McPherson was running, jumping, and joyful again. He could see and hear that we loved him.
—Connie Fleishauer in Four Paws from Heaven
My Response: To motivate more by approval than by correction, I’ll …
Thought to Apply: Praise loudly, blame softly. —Russian saying
Adapted from Four Paws from Heaven (Harvest, 2006)
Prayer for the Week: Teach me, Lord, how to mirror you by becoming a positive force in the lives of my family and acquaintances.