This year has been a tough one. Physically, mentally, and emotionally 2020 has affected everyone of us in one way or the other, for the good and sometimes, more often than we wish to admit, the not so good. It has been a year that has beckoned new learning experiences, change, and growth in the midst of turmoil, fear, and confusion.
Some days have been easy. Some days have been rough. And then there is everything in-between. Exhaustion. Frustration. At this point the list could probably go on indefinitely.
As we head into September, though, I see an opportunity to revitalize each other, to spread warmth, hope, and togetherness, to build each other up, and to catch each other when we stumble and fall. If I’m being honest, quite frankly we, as a community, a country, a world, should have been participating in this long before it became a National Holiday.
The thing is: it’s not too late to start now! And if you are feeling remotely similar to how I feel, we need this more than ever. What I am talking about is encouragement and the act of encouraging others.
In 2007, a group at Harding University, known as the Encouragement Foundation “launched an effort to get Americans to participate in...[a] Day of Encouragement.” Proposed in August of that year, the governor of Arkansas “signed a proclamation” that officially recognized the 12th of September as a state celebrated holiday devoted to the act of encouraging, uplifting, and supporting each other. Soon to follow, former President Bush recognized the importance of this Day of Encouragement and acknowledged September 12th as a holiday to be celebrated nation-wide (National Day Calendar, 2020).
Alright, so what is encouragement?
In an article, “The psychology of encouragement: Theory, research, and applications” (2015), the author Y. Joel Wong goes into great detail defining encouragement, the effects it has on people, and its practical use in counseling and daily behavior. The following is just one of the many definitions Wong attributes to understanding what encouragement is:
Delving further into the definition of encouragement and providing several examples of what forms it can take and what it can be used to address, Wong (2015) elaborates:
As we draw closer to this National Day of Encouragement, let’s all do better at building each other up. And when this day passes and we find ourselves moving into October, November, and then starting a brand new year, let’s keep the encouragement going strong. I challenge and encourage (see what I did there) everyone of you, whether you are a student, faculty member, staff of E&H or any other college/university or community member out there that reads this blog, to take a moment out of your day to share some encouraging words to a friend, a colleague, a stranger.
Encourage your fellow students in class. Tell a fellow colleague they are doing a great job. Send an encouraging email, text, snapchat. Post something supportive and encouraging on your Facebook or Instagram. Even in the midst of this pandemic, the outlets we have to spread encouragement are many and the impact that you, that all of us, can make is truly immeasurable.
For other ideas on how to encourage others check out this blog by Weeks Makes Lives as it offers 12 great examples of things you can do to spread positivity, support, and motivation. You can also find a few suggestions at NationalDayCalendar.
Chadwick Boseman quotes and sayings. Inspiring Quotes. https://www.inspiringquotes.us/author/4554-chadwick-boseman
Edberg, H. (2020, August 11). 80 inspirational education quotes for students and teachers. [Blog post]. The Positivity Blog. https://www.positivityblog.com/quotes-on-education/
Helping others drawing [photograph]. https://pixy.org/640689/
mohamed_hassan [pixabay user]. Together helping each other winning free photo [photograph]. https://www.needpix.com/photo/1078605/together-helping-each-other-winning-teamwork-people-rocks-help-training-motivation
National Day Calendar. (2020). National day of encouragement. https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-day-of-encouragement/#:~:text=September%2012th%20recognizes%20the%20National,encouragement%20to%20someone%20is%20free
National day of encouragement.(n.d.). https://dayofencouragement.org/
Seale, Q. (2020, August 20). Encouraging quotes to lift your spirits. Keep Inspiring Me. https://www.keepinspiring.me/encouraging-quotes/
Wade, K. Believe in yourself motivational quote [photograph]. https://www.uihere.com/free-photos/believe-in-yourself-motivational-quote-649616
Wong, Y. Joel. (2015). The psychology of encouragement: Theory, research, and applications. The Counseling Psychologist, 43(2), 178-216. doi: 10.1177/0011000014545091