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Have you ever seen that show, “The Wonder Years”? Some of my teenage years I felt like Kevin Arnold. It was an age of discovery, identity, and development. I sometimes wonder how I made it out of my teenage years. It always helps to have a brother who is older and in the same high school, at least for a year.

I was in 9th grade. Somehow, I had made a name for myself, but it was through my brother at first. I had gone from someone who was ridiculed (don’t get me wrong, I did have friends but I was very insecure), body parts all growing at different rates and nerdy, to someone who was accepted, finally having hands and feet that matched the rest of my body…and still nerdy.

My brother was in 12th grade and had already made friends. I became known as Rob Chrystal’s little brother. I joined Mock Trial and became a lawyer. That year our team went all the way to the state regionals in Annapolis, Maryland. We lost in the semi-finals. Through that year I obtained the name “Mad-Dog Dan” for ripping a piece of evidence out of the hand of the other team’s witness.

Also, that year I started attending a youth group at a church called Trinity. They were having a guest speaker come who would visit six high schools. His name is Dave Roever. He is a Vietnam Veteran with a phenomenal story of triumph over tragedy that took place in his life. You can find out more information about him by clicking HERE. He still travels the globe today.

After watching a video of his story being presented in a high school auditorium, I was determined to ensure that my high school would be one of the six schools chosen. THIS is where I learned the importance of networking and overcoming fears and insecurities for the sake of relationship.

The thoughts that went through my mind were, “Why would the church youth leadership pick my school? You don’t know anyone. You’re not important enough. They will look right past you.” These fears can be crippling when trying to accomplish something. They can also be crippling when trying to build relationships with others.

The trouble with these insecurities and fears are usually no one else knows you are feeling them. It is like being trapped inside your mind and feeling as if no one can hear the inner screams of inadequacy. Thankfully, I had parents and friends who were very encouraging. I never heard from them, “You cannot do this.” In fact, the opposite was true. My parents and friends continued to embolden me with words such as, “You can do anything you set your mind to.”

I wonder what would have happened if I had not had people in my life that would take the time to share encouragement, words of confidence and affirmation, and allowing me the freedom to “go for it.” Even with those words I struggled with assertiveness. However, pushing through these negative feelings allowed me the opportunity to bring the school a fantastic assembly – the first assembly in the school’s history where the entire student body was allowed to come.

It set a precedent for my high school career; opened doors of relationship with my teachers and other students; and although I still struggled with feelings of inadequacy – I had friends around me that spoke inspiration, support, and perseverance into my life.

These events taught me the value of being an encourager in relationships with others. It’s never fun to be a part of a relationship where there is LITTLE TO NO mutual encouragement. Relationships work best when there is a healthy amount of support on both sides.

Take the opportunity today to BE THE ENCOURAGER in one (or many) of your relationships: your spouse, your child, a friend going through a difficult moment in time; a co-worker; or even to someone you do not know – a cashier, waiter or waitress, etc.

This is one of the characteristics in the Art of Relationship. It can be the difference in someone accomplishing something of value in their lives. Encouragement yields encouragement. Take a look at this short clip – and pass it on to someone else…

Look for posts on my blog about once a week. Right now, I will be sharing some personal stories and how I have learned some valuable lessons about the Art of Relationship. Later on, we will get into more depth and look closely at some aspects and characteristics as we rediscover the LOST ART OF RELATIONSHIP.

Have a thought about this post? Please share some feedback below, share it with a friend. Thanks for reading!

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