It is possible that many failed projects, ambitions, and dreams would have been realized if they were sufficiently motivated through encouragement. Sometimes a kind word of appreciation, thumps up and few words of admonition is all that is needed by someone at the brink of giving up. In this era of social media, sometimes, likes on a person’s status update or some positive comment could serve as an encouraging incentive. When Glen Campbell sang “You got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness” encouraging others through positive feedback could be that little kindness. Sometimes, we underestimate the value of encouragement, but it helps a great deal.

In classical rhetoric public writing and speaking took basically three forms: the judicial plea of accusation and defence (genus iudicale); the ceremonial speech of praise and censure (genus demostrativum, epideictic) and the political address of recommendation and dissuasion (genus deliberativum). The judicial seeks to bring about a judgement about events of the past (typical of a law court), deliberative aims at effecting a decision about future action, often in the very immediate future (typical of a political assembly); epideictic celebrates or condemns someone or something, not seeking an immediate judgement or action, but increasing or undermining assent to some value (typical of ceremonies – birthdays, wedding, funeral, send-forth, farewell, coronation etc).

Even when oscillating between these three forms of rhetoric the Apostle Paul learned as he was never left out in all his letters a section that encourages both the Church community and his collaborators. Encouragement as we have it today could be well situated in either the deliberative or epideictic although it has more the principles of the latter. Indeed, it is difficult to grow and keep on without someone to motivate and encourage us. After a successful completion of a task it is a natural instinct, to expect both critics and praise singers (condemnation and credit). In between these two extremes lie a motivator. Someone who while pointing to us objectively few errors or mistakes also encourages us to build on the experience we have now gained for optimal output in the future.

Not many people have developed the tough skin of growing without being encouraged or motivated by someone or by some perceived good. That is why it could be a sad experience growing up without friends to praise and blame us. Naturally, man seeks approbation for almost all his actions. Such approbation or censure increases or decreases self-image. The so-called social media influencers build their profile through this principle of approbation that leads to multiple followers’ base on their social media pages. Also, when one picks up a new book to read, it is fashionable to read first and foremost not just about the author but also what other authors say about the book. Not just any author´s recommendation, many readers tend to read books that have been recommended by already known and famous authors. This is basically an encouragement principle built into a market strategy.

So, what holds you back from encouraging that brother, sister, or friend of yours? Why are you economical with words that could spark up a fire of motivation? Why do you wait for obituary posts to type RIP when you have not typed a single “congratulations,” “happy birthday,” “bravo,” “well done”, “keep it up,” “you look good,” “you are amazing” on any of his or her posts. The Apostle Paul in all his letters kept encouraging and motivating his collaborators and the brethren. Such words of encouragement never subtracted from the Apostle´s own self-worth. Encouraging a brother, a sister or a friend does not make them better than you. By the way, life is more beautiful when not view as a perpetual competition. Life is beautiful when we hold each other´s hand, helping them, motivating them, encouraging them to reach their goals. Positive comments and constructive criticisms in this age of social media are powerful encouragement mechanisms.