Motivation. The drive to do something. The reason to get up and move. The willingness to do or repeat an act.
Recently I have been intrigued by my daughter. Watching. Learning what motives her. The number one is encouragement. All it takes is a little “good job!” and she is sold. If I am watching and I commend the act it will happen again.
Just yesterday I saw this in action. For several days now she has had a cold. At first, I was wiping her nose and trying to encourage her to blow. I would demonstrate but she still didn’t quite get the hang of it. Then yesterday, something clicked. She was pointing to the tissue box. I gave her one and away she blew. She blew and blew. That was a victory however what happened next just blessed this momma heart of mine. She walked up to the trash can and threw that dirty tissue away. “Yes!” I thought. That was all it took. I gave her a smile and expressed a “good job!” And you know what? Ever since yesterday morning, she has wanted to blow her nose over and over again. While I have had to slow her down from blowing her nose constantly I am still greatly touched. Encouragement motivates the littlest of hearts.
My daughter’s second motivational factor is my presence. The presence of someone she loves coming alongside her. Whether it’s just getting her to play with her toys or to do a simple task the presence of someone is motivation. Getting down on the floor in front of her kitchen set and beginning to put food on plates or put something in the fake oven. That’s all it takes and she is off playing, imagining. And in the tasks…it doesn’t take much. All I have to do is start pulling clothes out of the washing machine and behold she is there.
So what motivates you? Encouragement? The presence of a friend or family member? What about your kids and spouse? Do you know what motivates them? Do you know how to encourage them?
I don’t just mean in the physical things. One day my daughter will be well beyond this physical and emotional stage. She will need something deeper. A spiritual motivation and encouragement perhaps.
While as parents we have a role to play in the physical and emotional well-being of our children a far greater role is their spiritual well-being. Have we taken the time to notice? To find what motivates them spiritually? Are there changes we need to make to encourage their own spirituality?
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. ESV
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. NLT
Colossians 3:20-21 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. NKJV
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. ESV