A Lesson From Emily

My daughter, Emily, recently wrote a blog post entitled “Encouragement.”  In it, she described different kinds of friends – friends who encourage you to grow and try new things and those who slow you down and encourage you to remain on your current path.  Emily asked a question which has stuck with me:  Which type of friend are you?

Since reading Emily’s post I have tried to notice whether I encourage people to take chances, to chase dreams, to be bold OR whether my advice is to maintain the status quo, play it safe, stay the course.

While I like to think of myself as a person who encourages my friends to dream, I have to admit that I often hear myself murmuring words that sound a lot more like encouragement to remain the same than encouragement to risk and take a chance on dreams.

I have been kind of horrified at this discovery.  Do I encourage my friends to dream, only to later discourage them from taking steps to make those dreams come true?  The more I have listened to myself giving advice, the more I have heard myself discourage steps that would move my friends along the path toward realizing their dreams. This has been a very hard reality to accept.

After thinking about this for a while, I have come to realize that I do this with my own dreams.  I love to dream.  Big or small, my dreams enliven me.  I love to think about my dreams.  But, when it comes to taking action toward making my dreams come true, I get stuck.  I often become overwhelmed and paralyzed at the thought of taking action.  The bigger the dream, the harder it is to take any steps to make it come true.

Now that I have realized that I do this to myself and to my friends, I want to take some steps to change.  I want to be more encouraging.  I want to be bolder about taking risks.  I want to chase after some of my bigger dreams and I want to encourage my friends to chase after their dreams.  I think that I am good at encouraging my friends to dream, so I need to learn how to take that encouragement to the next level.  I also need to learn to get myself “unstuck,” so that I am not paralyzed when I try to follow my own dreams.

This gives me a lot to work on.  I know that the first step toward making a change is to see things as they really are and to be honest with myself.  Now that I want to make a change to be more encouraging, I can get started.  I don’t have to be stuck any more.




4 thoughts on “A Lesson From Emily

  1. “One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.”
    ~ John O’Donohue (1956-2008)

    This is one of my favortie quotes from the author of one of my favorite books, “Anam Cara”. I share it often and so share it with you.

    And a a wonderful example of you encouraging someone was you asking me for my help in youth group activities. Working with teens was something that was way out of my comfort zone, and you & John helped me to experience things I may not otherwise have had the chance to. Thank you!! 🙂

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