“You should become an English major,” said my Honors Composition teacher Dr. Ottilie Stafford when I was a Freshman in college. She made me feel wanted and valuable. She saw potential in me. Her encouraging words changed the direction of my life. I dropped my music major and became an English major.
In graduate school, I encountered another encouraging professor, Dr. Edna May Loveless. She modeled empathetic listening skills and taught with a positive spirit, notable in her frequent use of backchanneling utterances–uh-huh, hmm, etc. She encouraged my fellow composition and rhetoric classmates to value the power of positive psychology. She emphasized the importance of noting the strengths in our students’ writing. She encouraged me to write up a teaching activity I had shared with her and submit it for publication. Setting on the Sidewalk: Using Chalk Drawing to Teach Narrative Setting became my first peer-reviewed publication.
Now after thirty years of teaching, I have become a mentor teacher and conscious once again of the importance and power of encouragement.
The words of the American motivational speaker William Arthur Ward ring true to me:
“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.”Brainy Quote
As I have spent time considering journaling ideas, I’m convinced of the value of creating a encourager’s journal. A book/digital document where an individual can mindfully collect encouraging resources and track the results of encouraging.
I’ve chosen to create my encourager’s journal as a Google Doc. The outline function connected to headings allows me to easily organize and store the exemplary anecdotes, quotes, and inspirational texts I locate. I’ve already added the quote from William Arthur Ward and another from Joyce Meyer:
“We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics.”
I’ve set up a section for listing people I am seeking to encourage. Although my Encourager’s Journal Google Doc is password protected, I have chosen to use initials to identify the people I am seeking to encourage. I put in labels for the person’s initials, circumstances/conditions, encouragement method, and results.
I’m making a list of methods for providing encouragement, i.e. affirmation, providing vision, sharing hope, and empathy.
I’m also including a list of common circumstances/conditions needing encouragement:
- Changing circumstances
- Changing conditions
- Facing Challenges
- Experiencing Indecision
Here’s a link to my encourager’s journal template to share with anyone who would like to use a Google Doc to create an encourager’s journal of their own.