Friday, April 10, 2009

Operation: Encouragement

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
~ Albert Schweitzer
As the semester wraps up, it can be easy to start stressing about classes, projects, finals, and summer plans. I know that I've had a couple stressful weeks and I know I'm not alone. I think what makes the most difference is the people around you and if they encourage you.

Encouragement can be through so many outlets: a friendly hello, a phone call, a present, etc. It may seem like a little thing, but it could make the other person's day. My church college group has this event called Encouragement Week. We do these once a semester, usually towards the end. We sign up to be involved and receive a name. The cool thing about this is that the person you get has no idea you have them! You get a list of things they enjoy, their email, and their address and the sneaking begins. You can create fake email sites and send encouraging emails; you can buy them cool stuff and drop it off at their doors, and so much more.

I have participated in this for three semesters. Each time I was blown away by the kind words said and the frequent gifts. I had one person drop off a package at my workplace for me to get after they left. I've had the doorbell go off, and realizing it was my secret encourager person, I took off running to catch them. The adrenaline is so sweet when you are doing knock and drops. One semester, my encourager had a theme of using a basketball player writing me notes and sending me random gifts. I would try so hard to figure out who it was, but I never could.

My part in the Encouragement Week was fun. I didn't make a fake email account. I would primarily do knock and drops. This past semester I scared someone, though. I wasn't sure which entrance to put their gift on, so I called them on a friend's phone. I masked my voice and said to go out to their porch. They hung up the phone. Figuring I freaked them out, I quickly grabbed my phone, hoped they didn't have my number, and called again. I used my normal voice, said I was sorry for scaring them, and quickly said there was something for them on the porch. Suffice to say, I won't use different voices on the phone again.

Finally, at the end of a mysterious, fun week, we reveal ourselves to our encouragee in a group assembly. It is so funny to see who received what, who was behind all the goofy stuff, and who got caught. I know that Encouragement is an awesome idea for groups of people, and I can't wait for it in the next couple weeks. But, having a set week isn't the only way you can encourage someone.

I had a test I was kind of worried about and stressing over. One of my friends texted me to see if I could stop studying for a bit. She had a funny story to tell me. So, she called me up, told me the story, and could tell by my response that I was slightly preoccupied- stressing, is probably a better translation. She then offered to help me study. Since this was a Spanish test, and she is taking Chinese, I didn't think she would be able to help. She started naming random Spanish words, I humored her by translating them, and suddenly I realize the theme to the words. She was doing a song from Veggie Tales! She started to sing a small part of the song, and I busted out laughing. "The Dance of the Cucumber" is a song about a cucumber and a tomato. It is random, yet hysterical to me. It made me relax a little bit. She texted me some of the lyrics the next day, again, cracking me up.

Little things like that make my day. A friend got me an ice cream cone the other day and it totally made me happy. The flip side is doing things to encourage others. When my friends have exams, I try to text them before their exam and tell them I hope they do well. It's a way to let them know someone is thinking of them and praying they will do well.

Think of some things you can do to help someone through the last weeks of this semester. It can create some memories or create some smiles. Either way, it's a fun way to help someone out.


  1. I wrote an article earlier called "Now Let's Donate a Little Encouragement" and I completely agree with how much of a difference that it makes. I love helping others through difficult or stressful times, and it never ceases to amaze me at how much people thrive on the encouragement that they receive from others. Good entry!

  2. I agree with what you said. I know that I have had a rough couple weeks, and it has really helped having friends that I can talk to about my problems and just have them there for support and encouragement.

    I really liked your story about "The Dance of the Cucumber." It made me laugh. I can only image that happening. If only she could sing it to you in Chinese too!

    I love the thought of Encouragement Week. Just thinking about it makes me happy. It seems like a great time to have group encouragement and to build people up together. I think that it really helps to bring about the closeness of your group. I hope this semester is as successful as it has been in the past.

  3. Encouragement is something that everyone thrives on. It gives that warm fuzzy feeling that is so cheezy in movies, but truely existant in our own lives.

    Encouragement isn't always easy, nor is there only one way to do it as you said; however, it is something that everyone should strive to partake in. It helps strengthen social bonds which is something everyone wants to accomplish.