1. At a committee or board meeting, before moving on to the next agenda, stop to commend those who worked on the previous item.
2. Write a personal letter or note card that an employee can take home or put in a personnel file. Keep a supply of such blank note cards in your desk for just such a purpose. E-mails will do, but they are less likely to be pinned up on workspace walls or put in a portfolio.
3. Commend the wisdom and helpfulness of a suggestion somebody has made, especially when the suggester has offered to be part of a solution to a problem.
4. Explain that what inspired you to do some good thing was the other person's example. "l brought coffee cake for the office because I see how much the staff enjoys it when you consistently do thoughtful things."
5. Don't talk down to people; talk up to them. Consider them better than you. "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3). "You probably already know this, but. . . ."
6. Loan something of value - books, camping gear, a car, a cabin - as a signal of your willingness to take a risk, having noticed something in the other person that elevates your confidence in her trustworthiness.
7. Think of something that is normally not praised, because it is simply expected - like refilling the soap dispensers at church restrooms. Customarily, those who have responsibilities for such things as refilling soap dispensers only hear from people when the dispensers are empty. Be the one to notice that they are not empty, and commend the faithfulness of the worker who serves others behind the scenes.
8. In the next birthday card or Christmas card you send, include a personal note commending some Christlike quality you observe in the recipient.
9. Commend someone for the (sensitivity, kindness, compassion, etc.) with which he treated a third party. You noticed, and so does God.
10. When asked to do a chore, consider saying something like, "Nothing would give me more pleasure right now than doing this for you," because of all the tasks in the universe you could be doing, you choose to do this one. Serving someone can be affirming of them.
11. Nominate someone for an office or post - based upon her integrity, dependability, or trustworthiness.
12. Following a worship service, write a note or leave a voice mail for someone who excelled in reverential musicality, hospitable ushering, enthusiastic reading, or faithful preaching.
13. Respond to that e-mail or note that has been waiting for a response.
14. Ask a younger person's advice.
15. Paul said to the Corinthians, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). Say to someone, "You are like Christ in (forbearance, boldness, etc.), and I want to imitate you as you imitate Christ."
16. Jesus is never late. His timing is perfect. While waiting for the start of a meeting, commend those who were on time for their punctuality, which shows respect for the time of others.
17. Stop and pray right now, asking God to help you to be affirming.
18. Do you know people who are suffering from an illness? They may be encouraged if you commend their endurance, patience, and determination (to stick with the therapy, etc.).
19. Do you know of a missionary or someone else doing something risky but right? Commend the courage.
20. When you read a biography and come across an incident or episode modeling great character, read it to someone or send a photocopy of the paragraph or page, saying something like, "This reminds me of you."
21. Compare someone you know with a Bible hero.
22. Don't forget to say thank you to those who directly (or indirectly) benefit you.
23. Commend a self-sacrificing mother for her loyalty to her children's welfare.
24. When someone comes up with a good idea or solution that was overlooked by others, commend his resourcefulness and creativity.
25. When someone advocates for the relief of the suffering of someone else, praise the compassion being demonstrated.
26. Is someone taking pains to avoid hurting someone else? Commend that gentleness.
27. Search the Scriptures for ways people commend others. Do likewise.
28. When you observe (or hear about) a youngster doing his chores, praise his sense of responsibility as evidence that he is growing up.
29. Do you see someone who is good at welcoming others, inviting them to share in activities, meals, lodging, etc.? Commend the hospitality.
30. Put down this list, pick up the phone, and call your (spouse, teammate, coworkers, child, parent, etc.) with an affirmation. The point: don't save it until later.
3l-. Commend a worker (postal clerk, bank teller, McDonald's cashier, grocery store check-out guy, etc.)for smiling and being cheerful.
32. Literally applaud someone for doing something commendable.
33. Insert a character quality into the well-known birthday jingle, like this: "Happy birthday to you' Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear dependable Debbie. Happy birthday to you."
34. Make an acrostic of a person's name, using a character quality for each letter. For example, Vicki:
Innovative in solving household problems
Kind to aging parents
35. Ask members of your small group how they affirm Christlikeness in others, or ask for fresh ideas. Ask how they like to be commended.