More on encouragementEncouragment is in such short supply. In my own tiny section of the universe I have experienced time after time that even if I do something really well, it is usually unnoticed and presumambly unappreciated. If this is happening to me it is probably happening to others.
I was never told that I did well as a child. (Looking back, I am quite pleased by my achievements.) So I inferred that I was a kid of average or below average ability. I had no reason for thinking otherwise. In her album "Reflections in a mudpuddle," Dory Previn sings of dancing for her father just to make him smile, and he didn't. Also, by the way, I believed that I was ugly and women would never look at me. I wondered if I might be forced to seek same-sex solace though the thought of it revolted me and still does. I have often wondered if similar emotions lead to homosexuality.
I am now older and wiser, and I know that I do good things from time to time. Furthermore I have come to the conclusion that for most people the simple act of saying "You did a good job" is more than they can handle, in the stress of leading their own lives. I am also certain that others experience the same frustration as I, so this page may speak to a common experience.
I am fully aware that to do things in order to achieve recognition is wrong. In matters of faith it is particularly wrong. What we do as part of the Kingdom of God is an act of praise to Him who sees all things, and our reward will come. In fact He doesn't make us wait till the afterlife; such work brings the greatest satisfaction. No, I am more interested here in the value of feedback so that we can gauge whether what we have done is good, mediocre, or plain poor. Without such feedback, how are we to know if any of this effort is worth it?
So this morning in the shower I had a flash of inspiration. In relation to a recent example of this phenomenon I would send an e-mail to the group I was working with thanking me for the excellent work.
By the time I had arrived downstairs in my office, I felt this might not go down too well among this group of committed Christians, so instead I would turn to my friend in adversity, the Internet, and write my thoughts to it. Furthermore I would create a sequence of such stories. So here goes with the first one (3 July 2007, below).
Dear Tony and Laurie-Ann
I'd like to thank you for your CKCU programs Window of Opportunity, and Over my Head. I have enjoyed them for many years. I realize that the hosting is shared with others; I enjoy all of the hosts and the material they select. Your choices of music particularly appeal to me, so I can always be sure of an enjoyable hour. I like listening in good quality sound, not just on my computer speakers. If I miss a show, I often tune in later 'on-demand.' You must get plenty of good comments. I trust the program will continue running for years.
29 July 2007
3 July 2007
We hadn't expected much from the filming, but when we saw the "rushes" a few weeks later, we were sufficiently impressed to agree to spend quite a sum on having the footage professionally edited and put on a DVD, including a 5-minute highlights section that could be used for publicity.
You organized this, turning up at our BBQ with 32 copies which you distributed to members of the committee, and later sent to all the prayer, music and dance leaders who had taken part. You also sent a copy to GDOP HQ in South Africa
Since then not one person has commented in any way on the result.
I want to acknowledge that you did a good job, providing a permanent record of our collective achievement. You may have had amateur equipment, but you knew how to use it to great effect, and watching it I get goose bumps. I believe that the stereo sound made a great difference, allowing the special warmth and atmosphere of the people gathered that day in Dominion-Chalmers Church to shine through.
Running on autopilot