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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Davidisms: Praise the Behavior You Want Repeated

Praise the behavior you want repeated.

It’s a great leadership principle I learned from my college basketball coach, Dean Smith. Coach wanted his players to play hard, smart, and together. That was his mantra for success.

But he also knew that to get us to play consistently as he desired, he needed to notice and praise the behavior he wanted repeated.

It’s a great parenting principle too. The Bible tells children to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1). But surely there is more to it than just demanding kids obey what parents tell them. More than just, “Do this because I said so.”

Perhaps obedience should be preceded with constant and consistent praise of the behavior we want them to repeat.

Preceding miraculous healing, Jesus praised others for their great faith (Matthew 8:10; 15:28). The Savior of the world praised others for the behavior he wanted repeated. I would imagine their faith only increased with hearing the Savior’s praise.

We as people and parents should learn this truth from Coach Smith.

And Jesus.

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