what Wheel of Fortune teaches me about encouragement

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When I used to catch Wheel of Fortune on Channel 5, the contestants had one thing in common. They never fail to introduce their family with the most fantastic adjectives, for example, “I’m married to a wonderful husband with 3 beautiful children.” Watching the show, you would think that all American families are perfect and happy!

Whether or not that’s true, what makes these people so ebullient about their loved ones? I’ve rarely heard the same type of introduction in Singapore. And since part of my challenge is to tell someone what I admire or appreciate about Graham, I have discovered first-hand Asian modesty.

Just what makes it so hard to praise Graham to someone, I cannot understand. The only time I tried in this challenge, I quickly rattled through my words so that I do not appear too boastful — even if it is of my husband and not myself.

But there was also once, about four months ago, Ivan asked: “So what is one thing you have discovered about Graham that you didn’t know before?” And there is no doubt about that: “He’s wiser than I thought!”

I could have prattled on some nasty habit newly exposed but by the grace of God, I have enjoyed the godly wisdom of my husband in more areas than I know and that was the very first thought that came to mind.

So while I may not be lauding my husband with spurious adjectives as enthusiastically as the tv contestants, I could try warmly commending his wisdom to those who know him. For then I would be speaking truth, encouraging him and blessing others.

edit: correction made because I seemed to be saying that the contestants were giving only artificial praise. I actually meant that if I were to match their level of enthusiasm, it is my choice of words that would probably be spurious. Thanks to Laura for pointing out the offensive words!

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2 responses »

  1. you seem to end your comment on a note that disparages American women on WOF for describing their husbands as ‘wonderful’ and their children as ‘beautiful’. how would you classify these adjectives as spurious? How are they false? Maybe you’re not even aware you’re doing it?

    All families have moments, even prolonged periods, of unhappiness with each other, but when pressed for a quick answer, they will respond with what they believe beyond the petty grievances and disappointments of day to day life.

    You will probably delete me from your facebook account–I saw that you deleted the other woman’s comments when she disagreed with your interpretation of the bible. but I have to say that I read your posts and wonder who you have become. I don’t recognise the Serene I worked with all those years ago. You are constantly apologizing for your spiritual/social inadequacies, especially as far as your apparently sainted husband goes. You whine, you nag, you snap. Who is this Serene? You were a team player when I knew you. Where did you go? You make yourself sound like an absolute failure as a human being, as a soul. I think God could do much worse than you.

    You say you don’t praise your husband. Go back and read your own words. You worship your husband. And it leaves me completely disheartened that you write as if you have no love left for yourself.

    I grew up in a Christian church, based on redemption and love, not self-flagellation and penance.

    And for the record, when I praise my husband, I don’t feel ‘boastful’. I say what I believe to be true. He is my husband, not my possession, not something I own. God gave us free will. John is not who he is because of ME; he is who God made him and how he made himself through his free will. So how can I be boastful when describing God’s creation?

    You repeat all this doctrine without ever acknowledging that the books of the bible, especially the old testament, were written by men living in small worlds, where poolitics ruled. Where women were traded for political alliances. Men had multiple wives in worlds where women were not educated and were the property of their fathers until they became the property of their husbands. And you apply it all to the modern age.

    Good grief, Serene.God made the world to grow.

  2. Hey Laura I’m so sorry I didn’t mean to put down American women in any way. (What have I done?!). What the contestants say seem very remarkable to an Asian though (no matter how cosmopolitan Singapore seems)

    Hmm I really don’t remember if I did delete the lady’s comment (I could have!), but I did refrain from continuing the conversation when I saw that the comments between the 2 readers were getting more quarrelsome and less helpful as a discussion.

    Hey why would I delete someone who just called me a team player?! And thanks for your affirmation too. I feel free-er to talk about my own sins and weaknesses and not my husband’s (though we are all sinful before God) since it’s my own blog after all, so it might have appeared like I’m despising myself and worshiping my husband. But seriously, I’m not anywhere at risk of a low self-esteem problem… quite the opposite.

    The other reason why I’m not afraid to talk about my sins are is I know I have a Saviour in Jesus Christ. I’m not as bad as I can be but it’s pretty dismal for all of us according to God’s standards.

    As to *feeling* boastful when I’m bringing up Graham’s strength, or my own for that matter, I think it’s largely an Asian thing that it’s taboo to talk too highly of ourselves or our family. It’s cliche to call it Asian (for lack of a better term) but it’s kinda true. Like if you would praise a typical Asian for something they did, they would probably say, “No no it’s not that good” instead of a simple “Thank you!” Not sure if you have experienced that…

    The Old Testament was indeed written by men who lived in a very different time and culture, but the Bible also testifies to itself that it is the written word of God. So it’s not just conditioned by the values and practices of its time, but what God says is relevant to all times. Therefore we need to take it seriously; still I could have made mistake in applying it rightly! That I don’t deny…

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