Last week I was parent help on my son’s school trip to the Maritime Museum. Fantastic trip, great kids, great school and they even let us parents do a coffee run! The children were very well behaved but were also understandably excited. At the end of the trip when the kids were safely back at school, the parents left for a precious hour to rest before school was out for the day. And I say rest as the trip was immensely enjoyable but exhausting even with the caffeine shot at midday!
As we left the classroom, the comments from all of us was the same – the noise of the voices of excited children was notably absent. It was only as we walked away that we realised for 5 hours we’d been surrounded by constant chatter. The silence we then encountered on leaving was as a result almost deafening.
Constant questions, observations, opinions, exclamations had been made in my ear relentlessly. It made me think of the voices that surround us every day. Not just the general buzz of conversation around us at work, home, or at play (ie coffee in a café for me!), but the ones speaking into our lives. In all that noise what are the voices that we tune into? And more importantly what voice are we to those around us?
I had a conversation with a friend of mine recently. She was wants to do a Post Graduate Degree in Business and wanted my opinion since I had done the same degree. I could hear the hesitation and doubt in her voice as she asked me did I think she could do it. Having left school at 16, was she good enough, intelligent enough to do it? I know she can – she’s an exceptional sales manager, with great business acumen and very, very good at what she does. So I, at that point, decided to be the loud voice in her ear to encourage her with all the reasons why she would be good at this, how it would challenge her in good ways. I reiterated to her what her strengths and skills were. I also said I would be there for her.
When you are in a situation and you can genuinely be the encouragement to someone, the giver of courage, then do it. Be that person that cheers them on and supports them. So many times we stay silent, we assume either that they don’t need our verbal support or that they’re getting plenty from others. Yet so many times people falter for doubt and for lack of encouragement.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)