Tryout Day

Encourage one another and build each other up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

An encouraging word is welcome at any time, but is needed most of all after a disappointment or failure. That’s why Scripture instructs us to “encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). I (JCD) am reminded of a story about Joy, a twelve-year-old who had her heart set on making the school cheerleading squad. She practiced cheers, cartwheels, and toe-touches for weeks. Yet on tryout day, Joy’s best effort still fell short. She was crushed.

Joy’s mother had been traveling at the time. When she returned she asked, “Joy, how did tryouts go?” “I lost,” Joy answered quietly. “Really?” said her mother. She put her arms around her daughter. “Well, Joy, I am so proud of you for working so very hard, and then for having the courage to go out there and try!” The change in Joy’s expression was immediate.

If Joy’s mother had showed the slightest disappointment or embarrassment, Joy would have felt even worse. Emotions are contagious. We tend to “catch” the reactions of those around us and incorporate their highs and lows in our own spirits.

Your children are at their most vulnerable when they endure a terrible hurt or setback. Your attention and thoughtfulness during these moments can lessen the pain and bring you closer to your kids. Like Joy’s mother, you may even find the silver lining that turns disappointment into triumph.

Before you say good night…

  • Do you try to turn around disappointments in your family?
  • What “encouragement strategies” can you deploy?

Lord Jesus, we need eyes like Yours—eyes that see opportunities to bring comfort out of pain, light out of darkness, hope out of despair. Open our eyes and hearts, Lord, so that we might walk our children through these years. Amen.

Illustration adapted from Mothers Have Angel Wings, compiled and edited by Carol Kent (Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress Publishing Group, 1997).

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.