Tag Archives: encouragement.

Confessions of a Closet Cheerleader

Today, our guest post is from Tabby Finton. Tabby is a regular contributor to Bridging the Gap blog. She and her husband Steve Lead Abundant Life in Blaine, Mn.

Be True to You  or “Confessions of a Closet Cheerleader”– Tabby Finton


It took me long enough to figure it out, but I’m a cheerleader at heart. That statement in and of itself cracks me up, quite honestly. This admission will shock a few of my friends. When I tried out for the cheerleading squad in junior high school, I wasn’t chosen because “I wasn’t loud enough.” Really? No one would ever guess that now.

But the truth I’ve discovered about myself is that I was made to encourage people. It’s in the very central makeup of who I am. But I stumbled over that while parenting, and it almost messed up the rest of me too. Let me explain.

I am the mom of three strong-willed sons. When my oldest  was younger, I felt like I had to stay “in charge” for some reason, as if he would take over and I would lose my parental authority. His personality was very intense, and he learned how to push my “last nerve” buttons extremely well. And I played the game. I allowed him to manipulate me through my reactions and failure to admit the issue.

For a few years, my husband kept suggesting that I allow him to be “the bad guy” with our son, and for me to take on the cheerleader role. I tried to see his logic, but I unwisely resisted walking out his plan. With every intention of “rah, rah, rah” in my heart, I came up the stairs one day to discover food all over the living room, which had always been against the rules.  Instead of encouragement, out came frustration. Replay this scenario with different circumstances, but similar reaction, over and over and over, and you will understand those few years of my life. My intentions were not being realized. And my son and I both suffered for it.

In our specific situation, I was not living up to my responsibility within the family because of my denial.

One day I had a brainstorm: let’s try this my husband’s way.  Unbelievable joy was initiated in the discovery of the truth and was totally worth being wrong. His theory worked. And that was the beginning of realizing that in and of myself, I am an encourager at my core. The incredible  freedom that has come from not having to be someone I was never created to be has been remarkable.

So what truths about yourself might be lurking in your heart today, waiting to be discovered? What were you created to do? Who were you created to be? May contentment and peace follow in the wake of your own discovery, and may you walk out every dream you were created to fulfill.

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The difference between kissing up and a giving good compliment.

 Life Lesson #30 Learn to give good compliments.

I know that people like different things. But a good compliment someone will remember for a while. Say, 50 years at least. Mark Twain said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

The Anatomy of a bad compliment.

  1. Lie. “Go get’em Johnny, you’re the best.” Doesn’t ring true when Johnny is #15 on the depth chart. He knows it, and so do you.
  2. Repeat what others are saying. Wow, nice Game Johnny. Nice speech, nice hair, nice jacket, nice… Yeah, by the 3rd time I’ve heard it, the compliment looses impact.
  3. Use vague words. Nice. Good. Impressive.
  4. Be insincere. Force yourself to find something good to say. Kind of like complimenting your sister after cutting her down. “Find something nice to say, Johnny!” “I like your hair.”

Anatomy of a memorable compliment.

  1. True for you. Even if the recipient wants to deny it, give them a personal compliment from your experience. A lady at a certain church once came to me after a speech and said “if we didn’t have our pastor, we would want to have you.” I know her pastor. In my mind, he’s a great man. That’s a solid compliment, and it was true for her.
  2. Specific. Johnny might not be the best, but he might be the only one who could hit a curve call. Or have the nicest handwriting. You’d be amazed the things people remember. Notice the small and specific
  3. Public. Now, I know not everyone likes to be the center of attention. But everyone likes to be bragged on publicly. Not every compliment should or can be given publicly, but if the people important to me hear that compliment, the noise factor increases significantly.

There are many others I’m sure. But in 40 years, I only remember a few compliments. So try to make them memorable, will ya? Over on Facebook, or in the comments, would you share the best compliment you’ve ever received? Or other ways to compliment people? If you liked this post, you might want read http://lifecartography.net/dont-give-gift-certificates-life-lesson-19/