On Being An Encourager

What do you see here? Weeds or flowers? Pollen or promise?

What do you see here? Weeds or flowers? Pollen or promise?

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” ~Marvin J. Ashton

What we choose to see in life reflects who we are. Attitude is everything. Attitude is also a choice. Do you see the bright side of life or do you wallow in the depths of negativity?

Think back to when you were in school…how much did your teacher’s view of you affect your behavior? A student always feels the teacher’s attitude toward him/her. I remember having teachers who scoffed at me. In turn, I withdrew. Then I had teachers who invested in me. Those were the mentors I destined to please.

A few weeks ago my mother gave me an elementary report card she found stashed away. Oh, the horrors! I remember being an excellent student, in fact, number ten in my high school graduating class…I had forgotten I was once “not liked”. The power of love from the teacher I had the following year vanished those feelings of not being good enough.

Apparently, according to my report card that is, I “never worked to my potential” because I” refused to concentrate on any task at hand” and “rushed through the process”. My creative writing was unsatisfactory because my handwriting was sloppy. I excelled at spelling, but the fact I rushed through my work didn’t make it a strong point. I read several grades above my level, but since I read fast I couldn’t possibly comprehend to the extent I should. (All of these are notes written by my teacher.)My math was satisfactory. No farther notation, however the chart showed I was working two grade levels above my grade. (I went to a school where we worked on an individual ability basis.) I remember not really liking this teacher though she was well liked by many of the other little girls.

The following year I had a teacher who introduced me to poetry. She never cursed my handwriting. She encouraged my creative writing. Somehow math was lost to me at that point as the world of words took over my life. I wanted more than anything to please this teacher. Luckily for me, she moved up with me and I had her a second year. The same thing happened in high school; I had my writing mentor teach me for two consecutive years. I have remained in touch with these two teachers to this day.

What if these wonderful teachers had not crossed my path? I shudder to think of my self-esteem or what path I might have chosen to follow.

You might not teach for a living, but your thoughts are reflected through your actions. Someone is watching you. You are teaching someone something every day. Your attitude can make or break them. You have the power to encourage and develop the best in them. You also have the power to bring out their worst, to crush their dreams. Use your power wisely. You might be the one person who makes a difference in someone else’s life.

28 thoughts on “On Being An Encourager

  1. I do believe people come into our lives for a reason. And what kind of “imprint” they leave has a lot to do with the our direction and how we feel about ourselves. Thank God for the teacher who saw the potential for an amazing writer in you!

  2. “A student always feels the teacher’s attitude toward him/her. I remember having teachers who scoffed at me. In turn, I withdrew. Then I had teachers who invested in me. Those were the mentors I destined to please.”

    Suzi, you are SO RIGHT about that.

    And like you, I was always noted by my teachers as one who never worked to my potential. Or rather what they thought should BE my potential. I was always being compared to everyone in my class. And that’s why (as an adult) I’m not a big ‘class taker’ because I learn in my own way – research through trial and error.

    “The following year I had a teacher who introduced me to poetry. She never cursed my handwriting. She encouraged my creative writing. Somehow math was lost to me at that point as the world of words took over my life.”

    How awesome is that! I had a similar teacher in the acting school I attended. And he was the only one of my teachers who could see that I acted in my own personal way. Through my intuition and gut reactions. He allowed me to just be.

    Excellent post, my friend! Thank you for sharing it 🙂

    Have a super weekend…..X

  3. How easily one can be de-motivated, indeed. A good teacher is one who recognises potential and fosters it. A great teacher is the one who can bring out the potential which they and the student both didn’t even know was there, and bring it to excellence. What a wonderful feeling that must be!

    • A good teacher is one who recognises potential and fosters it. A great teacher is the one who can bring out the potential which they and the student both didn’t even know was there, and bring it to excellence. – How beautifully stated, and ever so true!

  4. Ah, Suzi, we’re ALL the winners because of the wonderful, supportive, encouraging teachers you had! I think the reason the “good” ones stand out is that there were so few of them. Most, sadly, had no clue how to reach us creative types — we didn’t fit the mold. But children (and adults) can’t be cookie-cutters, can they?!

  5. Great post Suzi, and I couldn’t agree more. Luckily I had a long streak of excellent teachers until I had a few bad ones in high school. Words make all the difference and I am so happy you’ve had these mentors for life!

    And my husband jokes that because I am always positive and he is negative, we even each other out!

  6. Good points, as always, Susan. They say you need seven (I think) positive statements to overcome the damage done by one negative. Spread the love.

    BTW. I noticed on your comment on my blog that your gravatar does not link to your blog. You can go to gravatar.com and add links to your blog. That way if you comment on someone new’s blog, they can track back and find you. 🙂

    • Wow, seven good to overcome one bad!
      I know it’s been doing that and i don’t know why…it used to connect. I’ve tried to fix it, but not sure what’s going on.

  7. I was always a bit of a teacher’s pet, aiming to please. My fourth grade teacher hated me (because my brother got to her first. I smile when I think of all the stress he caused her :)) I was devastated when I got my first “F” – because I didn’t trade papers fast enough for in-class grading. That’s pretty much how the entire year went. Thankfully, positive influences were more numerous than negative ones. I hadn’t thought about it, but our actions do influence others even if we don’t notice it.

  8. This is so true Suzicate. I too remember teachers whose harsh attitude crushed my soul. Unfortunately I did not have the true mentors that you describe. How lucky you were to have two teachers who believed in you!

  9. That was a familiar theme I heard in school – I wasn’t living up to my potential. I still don’t live up to my potential, but I find myself trying more these days. I’m really more of an A minus or B plus type personality, not a pure A. Which is quite fine with me. If I can get one thing across to my daughter (and my Girl Scout troop), it’s that being content with yourself is good.

  10. My teachers must not have made a big impression on me because I don’t remember them influencing me much one way or the other. I consider MYSELF blessed because you had two teachers that helped you. I benefit! 🙂

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