Encouraging Your Family


My wife has helped me see that my desire for excellence often comes across as a need for perfection from everyone in our family.  I’ve realize that I’ve created a depressing and discouraging environment and that’s not what I want.  How can I create an encouraging environment in our home?


It’s impossible to overstate the power of encouragement.  One of the key people God used in the first century church was Barnabas whose name means “son of encouragement.”  If you want to create an encouraging environment you can . . .

Spend more time building and encouraging your loved ones than you do scolding and correcting them.  It’s one in which you honor them by speaking respectfully to them.

Spend time catching those you love doing good rather than making mistakes.  Invest more energy in praising them for being successful than you do in criticizing and castigating them for falling short of your expectations.

Spend more time acknowledging and responding to their positive emotions than to their negative emotions.

Make it safe for them to make mistakes.  Make your home a place where they discover that God can use their failures to help them grow.  Show them that Romans 8:28 is really true, that God can cause “all things to work together for good.”  Teach them that one of the best questions to ask after making a mistake is “What can I learn from this?” rather than “How can I hide this so I won’t get in trouble with Dad.”

How can you start?  Get out a pad and pencil.  Write down the name of your spouse and your kids.  Now ask yourself the following questions and write your responses under each person's name.  What are their strengths?  What do they do well?  What says love to them?  What makes them laugh?  What makes them beam?  What gives them joy?  What is it about them that you are thankful for?  What are three good things that they have done in the past week?

For the next seven days set aside a couple of minutes each day to first of all pray for each of them and then to encourage each one individually in ways specific to them.  At first they may not notice, but after a few days you will discover the power of an encouraging word and begin to experience the joy of an encouraged home.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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