Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Mother of All Motivation

Grandma's backyard, sometime in the summer of 2010.  Two youngsters eagerly, or at least obediently, helping out. One youngster basking in the sun.

Now, I think the boy in the foreground is hamming it up a bit, but I thought this picture so perfectly represented what many of us face on a daily basis:  "someone" (a child, co-worker, student, church member, or or me...) who needs motivation.  At our house, I like to pay tribute to my Native American heritage by calling the "one" in question: "Him Who Need Fire Lit Under Bottom."

It's hard for me to keep myself motivated, let along be the Oprah of anyone else's life.  What's even harder, is for me to actually be a motivator and not an aggravator.  Or even worse...a nagger.

I am in a season of life where my own children need motivation more in areas of sending out resumes and filling out scholarship applications.  A couple of nights ago, while my youngest (and only offspring left in the house to nag on a consistent basis) unloaded the dishwasher, a visiting friend - who happens to be a young mom - appeared to marvel at his good deed.

I had to point out, and hopefully encourage with, the fact that the good deed rarely happens without some maternal motivation.  Darn it.

When I think of parenting, I obviously think of a lot of things.  But, the fact that I am the main motivator in another person's life is heavy.  Daunting.  Gargantuan.


We can approach motivation in a myriad of ways.  I've already hinted at aggravation and nagging. But, we also have manipulation, intimidation, begging and in very desperate situations...crying.  I know of these as I'm sure I've tried them all. And while some or all may seem to work from time to time, they don't produce the long-lasting effects we all desire to see in our kids.  Or students.  Or employees.

Sometimes the thought of a bad consequence is actually a good motivator.  For instance, "I don't work...I don't eat.  Wow, think I'll go to work!"  And I've sat through enough "teacher" classes to know there's been gobs written about positive and negative reinforcement. As a matter of fact, I'm going to leave the "how to" motivate to you and God.

I just want to encourage you today to motivate.  Or, at the very least, to simply remember that you it or not...a motivator.

We've all heard that saying, "...the hand that rocks the cradle, rules (or rocks) the world..." a time or two. And as sentimental and sappy (and scary) as it may seem to does ring a bit true.

I'm not a morning person.  I mean, I have to be, but it's not by happy-jump-out-of-bed-choice.

What motivates me is the very fact that I am a motivator.  I became one the day the nurse handed me that first baby boy...all nine pounds of him.  I had a reason.

My children aren't the only people God has put in my life to motivate.  As a matter of fact, seeing how powerful the smallest influence has been in their lives has only made me more passionate about doing my best to do what I can...when I also encourage others.

Motivating myself is a loser.  I'm not that motivated by me.  Maybe you're a little disenchanted with you as well.

If you need motivation today, remember those around you.  Remember your impressionable kids.  Remember your hurting friends. Remember your struggling co-workers.

Somebody needs your encouragement today.  Your kind word. Your smile.  Your understanding.  Your funny, "Been there, done that...survived!" story.

As always, I pray you're blessed.  And always, I pray you're motivated.


  1. Thank you!! I needed that :)

  2. So glad!! Your encouragement is my motivation! :) Blessings!

  3. I find myself needing to be motivated to be motivated! Thank you for continued great words!

  4. Thank you from the struggling co-worker! Your encouraging words help more than you know :)

  5. You're welcome, and you're welcome! Now, I must tap into some motivation to keep coming up with encouraging words and...get to work myself this morning! Blessings to both of you!

  6. My pleasure! Praying for you and your amazing family today! As busy as you all are, you need that motivation to be a motivator!! :)

  7. Good words. The motivating voice in my head is usually My Mothers' :-/ Somehow I did not inherit her super, duper self-motivated personality, not even a smidge. But I can usually hear her saying, "Jill Suzanne! You need to get that done!"

  8. I have that same sort of self-motivated mama! Thankful for her & her incredible example, but also thankful for a God who helps those of us who struggle in this area to pull it all together! :) Blessings!