The sweetest of all sounds is praise. -- Xenophon
Why is it so much easier to condemn that encourage? I recognize in myself that when I am tired or overly stressed that my words are not as pleasing to the ear. But I also recognize that if, while tired and overly stressed, I am being encouraged or praised for the work and effort I put forth, I feel better. I suddenly have more energy and a burden is lifted.
I try to remember that when I see my kids in foul moods. I try to point out how well they did on their math, thank them for taking care of their chores, or just say something nice about how they look or how kindly they treated a sibling.
If they are really in a funk I ask them to go on the next errand I need to run. If needed, I'll find a reason to take a run just so I can have some alone time with the crabby one. Sometimes they need the time to decompress and not feel pressure to perform in any way. They don't always open up, but alone time and an opportunity for me to be with that one child is needed and it lets them know in a tangible way that they are loved and appreciated just because they exist.
It is so easy to fall into the rut of complaining and looking at everything that is going wrong. Instead, we need to purpose ourselves to focus on the positive and say kind words. It's good for the body and soul.
Proverbs 15 offers sage advice:
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
18 The hot-tempered stir up dissension, but those who are patient calm a quarrel.
23 A person finds joy in giving an apt reply and how good is a timely word!
30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.