One Simple Way to Encourage A Discouraged Child


I entered military school at age 13. But in the first several weeks I became very homesick and wanted to quit. My mom called the commandant for wisdom. Both knew homesickness was common but mom didn’t know what to say.

Colonel Bailey said he’d personally meet with me to encourage me.

How did he encourage me? He told me I was normal and this would soon pass.

With young people you don’t have to be profound when encouraging them. Often, they just need to be informed that their lack of courage is normal.

I didn’t know at age 13 that homesickness was a common experience but once Colonel Bailey told me that I was normal, it encouraged me, especially when he informed me that it would soon pass.

Part of encouragement is letting kids know they are not abnormal. Kids lack perspective on their discouragement. Without perspective on their discouragement, they might be more apt to have self-doubt and want to quit.

Part of encouragement is just letting them know they are ok. Instead of telling them they ought not to feel that way or to withhold from them the knowledge that everyone feels as they feel, we drop the ball to encourage.

We need not be brilliant to encourage but to remember that in the early ages and stages kids don’t know what we know so we need to tell them. This alone will encourage them and they will stay the course.

Many times it has nothing to do with inspiring kids to be brave but just telling them it is ok to have fears.

-Dr. E

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