pointing out the good

words are SO powerful as i've pointed out recently HERE & HERE. they literally have the power to give & save life!
something i have noticed that is almost completely absent in our culture is POINTING OUT THE GOOD. You know praising something about or IN someone else. giving a sincere compliment beyond "i like your hair" (or as Pedro might say "i like her bangs"). noticing something GOOD in someone else & then taking that most important step of saying it out loud to them!

i've noticed the power of this and i'm trying to discipline myself to do it. recently i was reflecting on WHERE i learned to do this and the answer is actually from a few things/people.

soccer is a prime example in my life for learning this. yes, soccer.
     [and i do know my audience and realize that we live in the only tiny corner of the world that is totally separated from the other 7 billion on planet earth for whom soccer is a part of life... but there's really not another sport that works in the example. no way for me to contextualize for you. + it's a personal experience story for me, so i can't make something up.]
i've played A LOT of other sports and this just doesn't happen in them. i'm not saying it doesn't happen at all in other sports... just not constantly built into the game itself. i guess it happens a little in basketball too... but way less. i grew up playing on the street. streetball everyday for the 1st half of my life & pointing out the good just doesn't happen as much. trash talk is the more dominant theme. it's just a way different culture.
basketball is awesome... there's just not as much pure beauty as in "the beautiful game."

(i'll just speak for me at least)
when i walk onto a basketball court, there is an automatic switch that flips into a certain mode. it's smack talk mode. i need to outdo this chump guarding me so i can tell him what's up & put him in his place. it's trash talk mode.
when i walk onto a soccer field, there is also an automatic switch that flips... but it's into "praise talk" mode. there's a constant "pointing out of the good" in others' game.
*i'm not saying there's no trash talk in soccer or no praise talk in bball... but these are just the dominating trends.

so, growing up playing soccer year around until the cartilage was gone from my knees - there is a certain culture of "pointing out the good" that's inherent on a soccer field which was imbedded into my DNA.

There is a constant complimenting, a praising of teammates AND even opponents.

walk onto the sideline of any soccer field with at least a somewhat high level of play and just stand and listen. here's the kind of stuff you'll consistently hear:
"nice ball"
"good switch"
"great 1st touch" 
"hell of a strike"
"beautiful through ball"
"that was sick"
"nice through ball"
"perfect weight"
"pretty cross"
"good effort" 
*and even when the intended doesn't come off you'll often hear = "right idea" or "nice thought" or you'll see a breathless teammate give a quick thumbs up to the guy who tried to link up with him across the field.

even if you're the one who gets beat with a nice move... you still find yourself complimenting the guy who burned you. that's just the culture.

that's a big time place of encouragement & praise. 
if you have something good in you, you are going to hear about it because others point it out.

everyone is an admirer of the beauty in front of them. they appreciate it & then praise it.
i guess this is the key... everyone appreciates the beauty. it's highly valued.
so in life... if we highly value a certain way of life, a talent or trait someone has, etc... we'll call it out, shout it out to them.

my Dad taught me this too. he lived it & taught me maybe without even knowing it. my Dad was (is) a positivity guy. his whole worldview is one of positivity and optimism. he would always say the good. he never held back the good. he just said it. he made sure to point out the good in others... in me... when he saw it.

our culture is VERY opposite. as a culture we like to speak negatives and keep positives to ourselves. as a culture we HOLD BACK speaking powerful and positive words to people... we just leave them in our head.
i think it's because of our PRIDE. if we point out the good in them it somehow LOWERS people's view of us. it's a way of lifting that person above ourselves. (maybe we should read this?)

i can look back and notice the difference this made in me personally when my Dad pointed out the good in me. i think that's made me value it and try to do it myself.

then there's Spanky Rouse who also taught me this. i learned this from Spanky much more recently... over the past 3 years or so. and like with my Dad, i learned because i was on the receiving end of this. Within a few month period it seemed like every time i talked to Spanky he was powerfully pointing out something good he saw in me. over and over. stuff i didn't even notice myself. 
i can literally remember thinking "wow. who does this? most people are so arrogant and want to be perceived as 'better' than others they would never dream of doing this." or better yet "who has TIME to do this?"
it made an impact on me. i was blessed by it. it encouraged me big time. sometimes on days i needed it.
actually, it made such an impact that for about 3 years now, at the very top of my weekly to do list it says this:
*bless peeps with my words. It's a big deal. (like S.R.)

i wanted a constant reminder in front of me, every time i look at my to do list, that this is one of the most powerful things i can be doing.
and maybe it has worked? recently a good friend pointed out to me that me doing this is really powerful and makes a difference.
i guess it worked.

it REALLY pumps me up to see it in action. i love how I see others light up sometimes when i point out the good in them. it's never fake. always fully genuine.
what a POWERFUL thing we have at our disposal every day.         

thanks to my Dad, Spanky, & the beautiful game for helping me learn this. 
*the crazy part is maybe one day i'll affect some people to live like this. then maybe they will too. and on and on. then the world will change. it will be a different place.
one word at a time.

i love Eugene Peterson's interp of Paul's words from Ephesians 4:29 in The Message & i'll end with them...
"Watch the way you talk... Say only what helps, each word a gift