Power of the Paper Plate

Oct 31, 2012 | Faith

A couple of years ago, after spending two weeks as a camp counselor, my daughter came home with stories about mentoring 5th grade girls.  While I was making dinner, she sat at the kitchen table with two paper plates.
Mom, have you ever heard of putting paper plates on your back and having people write things about you on them?

I’d seen that activity done in an alternate version, but I thought the paper plate was clever.
I still have mine from when I was a camper in 6th grade.  Here it is.”

She shared some comments people made on her plate as a counselor, and asked if I wanted to read them.  I took the cue this was important to her, and she wanted to share this personal experience with me.
She left the room, and I picked up both paper plates, reading the words of encouragement people wrote this young woman whose love for Jesus flows to those she mentors and serves with.  Then, looking at the plate from six years ago, I remembered a shy young girl trying to find her way entering middle school.  The fullness of her teenage years flooded my mind, acknowledging the influence the camp experience had in shaping  her life ……people showing interest in her, loving and encouraging her, seeing leadership abilities in her, drawing her to mentor young girls as a counselor.  Experiences changing her life.

And here was a soon-to-be-19-year-old, sitting at my kitchen table, soaking in new words of encouragement just as important as they were at age 12.  Words validating the woman she is becoming.

There is power in such a simple act – a paper plate and some simple words.  In a world where words are catapulted into our lives via texts, blogs, facebook and twitter, overloading us with information, here simple sentiments on a throw away dish provide joy and confirmation.

I was reminded of the Power of Words… and how I often fail to share words of encouragement because I am busy or tired.  The paper plate lesson reminded me to be more generous with simple words, because they can have unlimited power we may never see.

I was blessed to be reminded by paper plates on my kitchen table.

What about you?  Where do you share simple words of encouragement?

Pass the plate, please?


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  1. Janette's Sage

    That is great. Years ago I tried to get a tradition started at Thanksgiving in which we each filled out a card of encouragement to each other and put them in an envelope. It seemed the girls weren’t as pencil resistant as the boys…and it became a tug a war…I still feel that each of them enjoyed reading the words that were written to them. I don’t think we ever get too old for encouragement…nor too tired to hear them

    Thanks for nudging me on to continue to find ways to do just that

    • brendayoder

      Janette – thank you so much for this idea! I loved the idea of the envelop! I may have to implement this among my pencil-hardened boys 🙂 But I think in their hear of hearts they love the words because they need them so much. Thank you for this encouragement!

  2. Tracy

    Hi Brenda – such a great idea. My daughters did a church day camp in the holidays a while back and at the end of it they all had to write a little letter to everyone that was positive without signing it. They all glowed when reading the positive thoughts. Just shows how important encouragement is
    God bless

    • brendayoder

      You are so right Tracy! Powerful words of encouragement is a reflection of the power of Christ! Thank you! I love this idea that your daughters participated in!

    • brendayoder

      Ingrid, it’s a great encouragement to have those “other” places that pour into our kids, it is not? Thank you!

  3. Janette@Janette's Sage

    Yes and sooo true…I watched my daughter just glow after she worked with youth this summer and it does remind me that we all need encouragement along the way!

    • brendayoder

      It’s a great reminder to see the power of human connection in our children. I, too, am thankful for healthy places for my kids to grow!

    • brendayoder

      And Lis, I know you will pass it on, too!

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