Encouraging Hope in Others

Fred and Angela were proud of their daughter, Tracey, as she overcame addiction to heroin and meth.  It would have been a lot easier if Tracey had been in a treatment center for teens rather than one for adults, but teen treatment centers didn’t exist.

Tracey would die shortly after getting out of treatment when her boyfriend killed her.  Fred and Angela were distraught.  They decided to raise money for a drug treatment center for teens.  They were successful, but the community where the treatment center was located turned it into an adult care facility.

Fred and Angela started over and raised money for a center they called Tracey’s Place of Hope.  They wanted to provide a place of encouragement for young girls who had lost all hope.  We know Fred as an outstanding wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders and for the Biletnikoff Award given each year to the outstanding wide receiver in college football.  But Fred Biletnikoff and his wife should also be known for their work in encouraging hope in others.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where we are known for our personal accomplishments and not for the accomplishments of those we encourage.  Think about the times you have heard of the phrase:  Don’t encourage him(her).  Encouraging those who struggle rarely counts in our performance measures, but where it matters most is in our life achievements.

It’s hard to imagine a more rewarding experience than seeing the success of someone you encouraged, especially when that person was struggling.  Encouraging others is a demonstration of your faith, no matter your religious beliefs.

Encouraging others needs to be a sustainable effort.  It requires a lot of patience and empathy.  When we encourage others, we are also developing our own life skills.  We learn how to listen as we never have before.  We become better problem solvers where the problems don’t lend themselves to our academic training.  We learn how to set priorities for things that really matter.

While the Biletnikoffs were able to raise a lot of money to encourage addiction recovery, we can encourage others with virtually no cost.  It may involve a phone call at just the right time.  It could come by asking questions when something doesn’t seem right.  It could be sharing of tears followed by a hopeful hug.  It could be sincere advice and following up on whether the advice was acted upon.

As you reflect on encouraging others, think about how you could be supporting a life changing moment in a person’s life.  That really matters.

* * *

“Encouragement is oxygen to the soul – and is forever remembered.” – (Attribution uncertain)

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.