Monday, August 12, 2013

Catch them doing something good...

 Week 33:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I catch myself focusing so much on the negative in my world. I have been a teacher, coach, and principal for over 20 years as a profession. In that time, I have spent a lot of energy correcting, training, problem-solving, reacting, and re-directing students (and sometimes parents). Now, I do not feel for the most part that I have been a negative teacher, coach, and principal. However, I catch myself on the side of making sure things are done right and well. This has led me at times to only focus on what has needed adjustment.  

In the process of this behavior, I have blinded myself to many of the positive things occurring at the same time. I realize that I have focused only on “getting better” or “getting it right” and missed catching people doing something good. This is especially true in my current position as principal. So many things that come to me are negative situations that require some correction and re-direction. A challenge for me is to recognize that there are so many good things happening and that the correctable is just a small percentage of the bigger picture.

Two areas I have challenged myself to improve upon: One is to catch them doing something good (and acknowledge it). The second is to remind those who need correction that they themselves, at their core, are good; we are just dealing with choices for the most part. Now mind you, I have a long way to go in this area.  

The first one, catching them doing something good and telling them so, is probably the hardest for me. I am so attuned to making sure everything is right, running smooth, within boundaries, etc. that I miss noticing and/or mentioning the good stuff. One thing I have found for myself around this is that looking at life this way has numbed a lot of joy for me. It is time for me to make an intentional effort to look for the positive and acknowledge it verbally. A side note for me: I notice that in negative situations, I tend to look for the positive outcome or “silver lining”. This is only a comforter for me. It is not the same as looking for the positive as the positive is occurring. This is a muscle that needs to be intentionally developed for me.

The second area I have actually been able to incorporate and do a better job practicing. Again, I note that I have a ways to go, but this muscle has been flexed. In the midst of accountability and correction, many times I pause and send some sort of message that who I am dealing with is good at his/her core. God created him/her as good and He did not change his mind. It has become important to me to send something positive to this person to counter the shameful message he/she may carry. A step further for me would be to point out one of the characteristics from this passage that I see specifically in this person’s life.  

I pray that God will continue to reveal in new ways the positive message of His word to me. I want to continue to see His word at work in a practical way in my life and the lives of others. That would be a far cry different from the way that I used His word in the past…which was looking for passages to refute, judge, rebuke, and generally make sure things were done right. It’s time for me to catch them doing something good.


1. Which person have you been? Have you been the one who corrects more than notices or vice versa? Explain. Give examples.
2. Of the characteristics from this passage, which ones do you notice most as they occur?
3. Which ones do you notice least?
4. What do you think the reason for both would be? What do you suppose in your life influenced you in this way?
5. Ask God this week to reveal to you where these characteristics are being practiced. Look for ways to catch someone doing something good and voice it to him/her.

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