Monday, October 17, 2011

A Culture of Encouragement

Culture of Encouragement. Culture of Encouragement. Culture of Encouragement.

These three words have been harassing me for weeks. While I’ve been running errands, watching TV with Mr. Awesome, falling asleep or just waking up, working, playing, writing or reading these words have been chasing me down, running circles in my mind ann drumming their way into my heart. But what is a culture of encouragement? And why won’t this idea leave me alone?

A few years ago I attended a leadership conference where one of the speakers talked about creating a culture within your organization, a signature, a vibe that your place is known for like Starbucks and their caffeine induced happiness or Disney and their family-friendly perkiness. The speaker talked about defining your absolutes and shaping the atmosphere of your influence. He made it sound so easy to change public opinion and manipulate trends and maybe it is.

I have been so bothered in recent months over the Culture my kids are growing up in. I am annoyed that Negativity in king and cruelty is cool. I hate that insults are the accepted greetings and that no one is held accountable for the things that they say and do. I can’t stand that my kids are getting schooled in this “Whatever and BTW, FU!” attitude by their peers, advertisements and supposedly Family Friendly TV shows and movies.

Where is the kindness? What happened to respect for your elders, for your peers, for yourself? Can’t ‘they’ see that it’s this negativity that breeds bullying, depression, suicide and impulsive, self-gratifying and dangerous behavior? Don’t ‘they’ see that negativity robs them of their future, of their potential for greatness?

The more irritated I get the more this mantra loops through my head, Culture of Encouragement. Create a culture, define your absolutes, change public opinion. Yeah, right! I’m just some random mother with a little blog and a few faithful readers. I can’t create change. And then Margaret Mead shows up with her “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Yeah, I hear you, Marge … so here I am … asking you to help me change the world.

Dude’s school is working with me to create opportunities to encourage. We are going to create an encouragement wall, where staff and students will be able to write notes, post inspirational quotes or pictures. We are going to make encouragement a habit, a visual tangible thing that we will display as a banner of hope for our students. That’s what encouragement is, anyway. By dictionary definition ‘to encourage’ is ‘the act of giving hope and support.’

How amazing is that?! The ability to reach out and give hope is within our reach, within our words! I am so excited for the things to come in my world, of the changes that will begin to take places in the hearts and minds of our students as the message of hope begins to sink in and permeate their beings.

So I'm just wondering .. what can you do? How can you give hope and change the Culture of your world? Think about it, act on it.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made

No comments: