Richard Beach Shares

%name Richard Beach SharesRichard Beach wrote this article for a Shelterwood Newsletter back in the 80’s but it remains relevant today.

There was a man in scripture by the name of Barnabas.   It is interesting that a name in scripture often reflected something of the character of that person. Barnabas means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36). Barnabas was one of the first who came to the great apostle Paul after his conversion and encouraged him or “urged him forward” (Acts 9:27). Wouldn’t it be great to be known as a Barnabas?

I recently asked a group, “What is encouragement?” Answers ranged from a boost, a lift, motivation, strengthening. Have you ever noticed how much encouragement energized you?

The opposite of encouragement is discouragement. The world’s system is not to encourage others, lest they get ahead of you. The world system is to discourage, to be sarcastic, to point out faults or to use false flattery to meet selfish objectives.

The Christian should be living a different lifestyle. After looking into God’s word and being encouraged, we should be encouraging others. Have you ever seen someone who encourages become the encouraged?

How then do we encourage?

  1. Point out good qualities in others
  2. Smile
  3. Pat someone on the back
  4. Share an encouraging scripture
  5. Pray for someone
  6. Listen
  7. Recognize a person’s gift and let him or her know
  8. Tell someone how his or her life has impacted your own life
  9. Maximize a person’s strong points

We miss you Richard and are proud to name our new student lodge after you.

Teacher Appreciation

Teacher Appreciation Week

%name Teacher AppreciationThis week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Here at Shelterwood, we are so very thankful for our Teachers! As I think back on the many teachers I’ve had in my life, I am so very aware of how they have shaped me. Through their encouragement, patience, and passion, I have understood that education is a very shaping experience and goes beyond the walls of a classroom.

Here at Shelterwood, we are thankful for our Teachers who constantly go above and beyond. Our Teachers take extra time before and after school to offer extra tutoring and support. They are deeply involved in campus life and often join in on equine therapy, flag-football leagues, fly fishing club, basketball pick up games, wilderness trips to Canada, local fundraising efforts, and much more. Shelterwood Teachers are eager to share at student’s graduations and are often praised in graduation speeches as pivotal in a student’s time here.

Thank you to all of our teachers who work on individual plans for students, patiently explain HS grad 1 copy 300x200 Teacher Appreciationmaterial, and rejoice over the success of our students. I am continually impressed by their investment, not only educationally, but also individually in each of our students’ lives. To all our teachers, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You have planted seeds that are so obviously being sown in the minds of countless Shelterwood students. You are appreciated!

Validating does not have to equal Agreement

Screen Shot 2014 12 15 at 3.56.41 PM 300x133 Validating does not have to equal AgreementHave you ever shared something that weighed heavily on your heart and had your partner respond with, “You shouldn’t feel that way”? How frustrating! We all want to be understood and having someone tell us they think we are wrong for feeling the way we do does not make us feel understood.  The skill I encourage in couples the most is validating one another.  In my last email, I explained how important it was to listen to understand.  Once you believe you understand how your partner feels, then it’s time to validate them.

Validation is an action completed by the listener with the goal of informing the speaker that he or she has been heard and understood.  If your partner has communicated that they are frustrated with how you treated them last night at the dinner party, validation would sound like this: “I understand that you feel hurt by how I treated you last night.”  After you say this you’ll need to wait a little bit.  Don’t go into your side of the story.  Goal #1 is for your partner to feel understood – now that has been achieved.  Going into the facts or your defense will only undermine your goal.  If you really want to explain what you were thinking or intending, you’ll have to wait until the dust has settled.

I often tell couples that after validating they need to wait until the concrete sets up.  After concrete is poured you don’t go stomping around on it unless you want to mess it up.  Let your validation setup before you go and present your side of the story.  You might not even need to tell your side of the story.  You could just say, “I am sorry I hurt you. I will make an effort to be more conscientious of how I treat you in that setting next time.” Don’t worry about the facts – be more concerned with resolution and moving forward.
Validating doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with or accept your partner’s point of view. When you validate them, you are simply letting the speaker know that what he or she has shared makes sense and that you understand them. It only has to be a few sentences (sometimes even less), but validation is a vital part of healthy communication.

Validating equals Understanding
Validating does not have to equal Agreement

Do you feel validated by your partner? If not, then lead by example.

When our partner does not validate us, we often feel misunderstood or rejected. Validation is the bridge that brings two people together. You might be track­ing your partner’s message in your head, but if you don’t give them some indication that you understand him or her, they will most likely feel distant, invalidated or unimportant.

When two people are engaged in a heated conversation, validation can be a difficult skill to keep in mind. How­ever, validation is one of the most important, if not the most important, skill to develop for healthy communica­tion within your relationship.

I encourage you to listen to understand your partner today and then validate them by letting them know that you understand what they are saying and feeling.  Connecting is as simple as that.

If you and your partner want more skills and want to make your marriage the best it can be I encourage you to invest in The Marriage Program.

You can do this!

Grace & Peace,

Joshua Emery (Former Shelterwood Therapist)
Program Director at Relationship Architecture