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Chapter Twelve


In our current every-child-gets-a-trophy society, I see so many parents, teachers, and coaches praising a child just for showing up. Or, even when the occasion doesn’t warrant it, that child is showered with undeserved recognition. The child will then go through life emotionally unbalanced with an entitlement expectation: Someone else is always responsible for his or her emotional security and personal happiness. What happens when that feel-good booster is not around? How does the child cope outside of his or her staged environment? What theatrics will the child turn to in order get a biochemical fix or emotional high, and who will provide it? When will others stop being complicit in stunting the child’s emotional growth?

As Christians, we do tremendous damage when we create an atmosphere of false praise just to make people feel emotionally secure. It’s a delicate balance, but we need to add constructive criticism in the right doses, along with compliments. Without it, we never help children effectively deal with or detox emotional insecurity from their system. Too much praise, or too little constructive criticism, isn’t healthy. Unfortunately, this truth-serum approach is counterculture today, but it is Biblical (see Proverbs 15:31, 22:6; Ephesians 4:15, 6:4).

Hurt people are everywhere and we have an obligation to help them, but we can’t be an accessory to their pain when our words are inconsistent with the truth. What we may not realize (and usually don’t) is that we’re contributing to this individual’s emotional, psychological, and relational demise. We have blood on our hands.

There is a new breed of approval junkies—social media addicts who cannot function in life unless they are constantly being followed, praised, or rewarded. They foster outlandish behaviors aimed at recognition through Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, Facebook likes, and Snapchat devotees.