“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6 (ESV)

If you have attended any of the GDA Cross Country Meets, you may see the students cheering for their teammates and runners from other schools. I have heard about one Cross County meet where GDA students cheered for the last runner of a school whose teammates had given up waiting and went to their school bus instead of cheering at the finish line. What would convince a group of 7-12th graders to stay and cheer on students from other schools?

One GDA parent commented about the students cheering on their teammates at the finish line, “This actually makes me tear up a bit. They really stand out at the meets because they are so supportive of everyone. I’ve heard so many spectators comment on how great our kids are.”

Another GDA parent added, “This [student cheering for each other] is my favorite part about this crew! They don’t stop cheering until the last teammate crosses the finish line. It’s amazing and truly the best!”

I reached out to Coach Amyx to write about how to develop a culture of encouragement, because clearly the leadership of Coach Amyx and Coach Roach is not only pointing GDA students to Christ, but also setting the example for GDA students to be a source of healthy encouragement to all. 

 – Madison Dick, Communications Coordinator 

Encouragement Motivates Us

Encouragement is the act of inspiring with courage, spirit, or hope. It’s a powerful tool that can help individuals and teams achieve their goals. A culture of encouragement is one where people feel valued and appreciated, and where they are motivated to do their best. 

One of my most notable exposures to the power of encouragement came several years ago when I attended one of my nephew’s cross country meets. I was struck by the supportive atmosphere, with parents and students from different schools cheering not only for their athletes but for everyone participating. The longer the race went on, the more encouragement the crowd poured out onto the runners. This experience helped shape my view of running and even led to my decision to pursue coaching. 

What Does Encouragement Look Like?

Encouragement can come in many forms. It can be a teammate running beside you, offering words of motivation or simply their presence. It can be your friends and family smiling and waving near the finish line. It can even be someone you’ve never met, overcoming all the odds to succeed in their chosen endeavor.  The impact of encouragement is profound. It can provide the motivation to keep going even when you want to stop. It can inspire you to push just a little harder to reach your goals. It can create a sense of belonging and community, making people feel valued and appreciated. 

We Can Encourage Others

We can all be sources of encouragement for others. It’s quite simple: take an interest in the lives of those around you. Spend time with people on your team, in your school, or part of your family. As many motivational speakers have said, “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Your whole attention is the ultimate compliment.” Small acts of kindness can have a ripple effect. Help carry groceries into the house. Fill the water cooler for cross country practice. Volunteer at a local charity. You never know who sees your actions. Just doing good encourages others to do good as well. 

Encouragement Starts with Awareness

Developing a culture of encouragement starts with awareness that everyone plays a part. In our school, the teachers, coaches, administrators, and other staff take an interest in the well-being of our students. Part of being an educator is providing feedback. Even negative feedback can be encouraging if we provide it in a constructive and respectful way.  Our hope is that we will develop individuals who will go on to encourage others.   

Encouragement is inspiring, teaching, mentoring, and sometimes providing correction to others. We can encourage others through our words and our actions. To develop a positive culture, we must encourage one another. We must be mindful to teach those around us to encourage others.  

Let’s make encouragement a habit, a way of life, and create a positive and productive culture where everyone can thrive.    

Written by: Coach Chase Amyx

Photography Credit: Amanda LeClare and Summer Bryant (Summer Nicole Photography)