The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Patching Cracks


April 6, 2022

I recently read that employees, by a wide margin, prefer recognition for their work and contributions over bonuses or financial incentives. This seems counterintuitive, but there is a strange truth about what motivates humans in life: we want to know our work is meaningful and appreciated. This isn’t to say that money isn’t important. There are limits to this idea. Very few people would go to work every day in order to receive nice words and encouragement. However, one of the areas where employers often fall short in motivating their people is totally free in terms of cash cost. This idea isn’t limited to workplace interactions. In 25 years of ministry work, I have heard countless young men say that the thing they want most from their fathers is to hear them say “I’m proud of you.” During a substitute teaching day recently, I was sitting with a group of students talking about my daughter. I adore my little girl and often talk about her being pretty, funny, kind, etc. The young ladies in the group were surprised that I talked that way about my little girl. All of them said they couldn’t remember their dads talking like that about them. I don’t think that is on purpose any more than I think fathers aren’t proud of their boys even if they don’t say it. The weird truth is that we don’t always think to say “I love you” or “I appreciate the things you do.” The importance of these things cannot be overstated.

This week has been difficult for parents, kids, and school staff. It has been filled with sorrow, mourning, fear, guilt, anxiety, and worry. This week is when it is especially important to say to your kids that you love them. It is a good time to sit with your son and tell them that you are proud of the men they are growing into. It is a good week to hold your little girl close and tell her that she is a precious, beautiful part of your life. It is also a good week to drop a note to your kids’ teacher, our principal, the school counselor, the youth pastor, or anyone else who is investing in your children to tell them you are grateful for the work they do. To be fair, as good a week as this is to do those things, next week is too. The week after that is also good. Recognition is something people crave, especially from coworkers, parents, friends, teachers, and students. We want to know we have worth and are making a difference. In difficult times, it is a vital part of supporting each other. The book of Proverbs says “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” They are a balm to folks who are hurting and a reassurance that they are loved and valued. Offering loving words to your kids, spouse, or friends is important in times of trial, but it is just a beginning. Developing a culture of loving words feeds marriages, builds children, and motivates people in their work. The problem is that it is not easy. Most folks simply forget to say anything or just don’t think about it. This is a habit that is too important to just forget. It is far better to speak loving words today than to find your


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