Friday, May 20, 2011

Balcony People

Some people are in the "balcony" of your life, cheering you on, energizing you with their affirmation. Others are in your "basement" doing exactly the opposite. ~Joyce Landorf Heatherley

In 1989 Joyce Landorf Heatherley wrote Balcony People.  I was an avid fan of Joyce's writings and this book quickly became a favorite.  I've read hundreds of books since 1989 but this one has stayed with me.

Basement people are those who pull you down or discourage you.  We all have people like this in our lives.  Basement people are all about themselves.  They are negative and critical. They criticize you in order to make themselves feel better. They often presuppose others who “might” think they are a cut above themselves, thus they make no effort to affirm their associates.

Balcony people pull you up and encourage you.  They are quick with affirmations; they cheer you on and are quick with words of encouragement.  They want you to be the best person in Christ that is possible.  They give you confidence to reach your goals.
I have many balcony people in my life.  My family just about fill the balcony section.  My daughters are my biggest fans, rejoicing in my achievements as though they were their own.  But I'm a big girl.  I know who I am in Christ.

Teens, however, need big doses of affirmation.  They need a balcony cheering section that is loud and brave.  Those determined to build them up regardless of who is listening. They need more cheering to counteract the basement people who jealously put them down.  I’m especially grateful for the crowded conditions in Emily’s balcony.

One person in Emily's balcony is Bill -- Mr. Crabtree to her.  Bill is our greeter at church -- the first person you see. Without fail, you find him smiling, joking, but always with the “underneath” feeling of care and love.  Bill not only passes out the encouraging words, but backs them up by being the first to give to mission trips and other school promotions. Countless times, he has told me, “You got yourself a good girl there.” And just recently, another friend shared, “Bill thinks the world of Emily because she has only one mood – cheerful.” I was able to tell Emily, “You may not think anyone notices how hard you try to be like Christ, but some do.” Would Emily strive to be Christ-like without affirmation? Yes, it’s her heart’s desire…But, it’s good for her to hear the words of blessing and appreciation.

How about you?  Do you have balcony people in your life?  Maybe a better question would be Are you a balcony person? Do you exude negativity or positive cheer?  Do you take time to value people?  Are you a dream smasher or are you leaning over the banister rooting for others to achieve their dreams?  Emily Dickinson said, "A word is dead when it is said, some say.  I say it just begins to live that day."  May my words descend from the balcony instead of rising from the cellar.

* * * * *

I met Peter Lord when I was in a writing conference in Titusville, Florida.  He has written numerous books, including Bless and Be Blessed: How your words can make a difference.

"When you bless," says Peter Lord, "dramatic, miraculous changes take place."

With wisdom, personal anecdotes, and hands-on exercises, Lord teaches readers everything they need to know to deliver powerful words with life-changing impact today. He discusses the scriptural basis for blessing others, describes how readers can receive their own blessing from God, and teaches them to weave the practice of blessing into their everyday lives. 

Our May has been quite crazy, leaving little time for "play."  So instead of an idea of my own, I found a few for you to thank the balcony people in your life.  

For women in the balcony:  Heavenly Soap Wrappers: Funky Times

For men in the balcony: Chocolaty Chocolate Chip Cookies: Shoregirl's Creations

For children in the balcony:  Bubble Gum Bouquet: Bentley Boutique   
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