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Illustration: Encouragement

In her book Especially for a Woman, Ann Kiemel Anderson writes that her sister Jan was a third grade schoolteacher who one year had a bright-eyed boy who, despite his sweet attitude, didn't do well with his assignments. One day, Jan stopped and looked at him. "Rodney," she said, "you are very smart. You could be doing so well in school. In fact, you are one of my finest students…" But before she could finish her sentence, Rodney blurted out, "I did not know that!"

From that moment, Rodney began to change. His papers were neater, his work was better and his grades improved dramatically—all because of a dose of encouragement and affirmation.

When the Bible warns us against discouraging our children, we can turn the command inside out and read it this way: Fathers and mothers, cultivate good attitudes in your children and encourage them. It's not easy being a kid. Find a way today to encourage, affirm and strengthen your youngster—or whomever you meet along the way—in the Lord. (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 5-13-08)