“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
As I recently focused on this verse, I began to think of what it means to build each other up, and what came to mind were children’s building blocks. My son, Troy, used to love for us to play blocks with him. We would sit in the floor and stack the little wooden blocks one on top of the other, careful not to knock them all down. We would place the biggest blocks on the bottom, making a wide platform, and then added the smaller blocks on top of the platform. Now, Troy is a teenager, and long gone are the days of building blocks. But I remember, and it makes me smile.
I think encouraging our children is like building with blocks. The little things—encouraging words, sincere smiles, compliments, honest conversation–stacked one on top of the other encourage our children to have a solid foundation of faith, good morals, confidence, and courage.
What is the opposite of encouraging one another and building each other up?
Discouraging one another and tearing each other down.
What are some ways that we can discourage or tear down our children?
Those critical or sarcastic words, which slip out of our mouths before we can catch them, can be destructive. I think it helps to try to think of how our children hear what we say, not just how we hear what we say.
Now thinking about Troy’s building blocks again, what happens if we stack skinny little blocks on top of each other? Pretty soon the stack will tumble down, because it does not have a solid enough foundation. In this same way, our children must develop a solid foundation, to withstand peer pressure, self-esteem issues, etc. Our encouragement in faith must be the core of this solid foundation.
Think for a moment about what encourages you.
Maybe it’s a compliment, a smile, a joke, or an understanding look.
Maybe it’s simply someone saying, “It’s okay, not a big deal.”
Maybe it’s someone saying, “I love you too much not to tell you the truth about this.”
Maybe it is someone believing the best in you, visualizing what good things the future will hold.
Ask the Lord how you can encourage those around you, especially your children, and I bet you will be encouraged yourself.