The Value of Encouragement

New Zealanders are feeling the cold at the moment.  Winter has well and truly begun with a cold southerly wind bringing beautiful clear skies, occasional squalls, and frost – even to our warm, sub-tropical climate.  So I spent a couple of hours in the weekend chopping firewood.  Actually, I got the good end of the stick; my wife spent a couple of hours on the sideline of a soccer field.  At least I was moving vigorously and keeping warm. 

Mind you, there can be a fair bit of vigorous movement on the sidelines, too, as parents and coaches race up and down with their players, bawling encouragement and instructions.  Son no. 2 is in a team which has a fantastic coach; the first time I watched them play, I was blown away by how positive he was towards the kids.  He was constantly telling them, individually and specifically, what they were doing right and how well they were doing it.  Not surprisingly, they continually brought home wins. 

As I was chopping firewood on Saturday morning, I didn’t get to hear the coach; but I did, in fact, get a bit of encouragement all my own.  Our three year-old son wondered out to find me.  “What you doing, Dad?”

“Chopping the fire-wood.” (swing, Grunt, *Thwack*).


“To make it small enough to go in the fireplace.” (swing, *ka-chunk*)

“Wow, Daddy!  You did it!”

“Yeah. (swing)”

“And you did it again!  Yay, Daddy!”

And on he went, for the next five minutes, marvelling at every log split for the fire.  And I reckon I’ve never chopped so much, so effectively, so fast.


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