Webster's New World Dictionary of the American language defines ENCOURAGEMENT as meaning: to give courage, hope, confidence to, hearten, to help, give support to, be favorable to, and foster. Now, one good word leads us to another if we seek it out. Right? So, I looked up FOSTER to find out why Mr. Webster had the insight to add it right at the end of his words to describe encouragement. Here is what the word foster means: to bring up, rear, to help to develop, promote, to cherish. For example, someone who cares about you so much that they exhibit a willingness to take the time to give advice or words of hope or shed tears of joy or sadness with you, they are your Special Encouragement Team (SET). You see, someone who fosters hope of success in what you are attempting to accomplish fall into this special category. Sometimes they challenge your thoughts and or actions to make you think about what and how you are doing it. Thank God for them and you will be on your way to a better life. Scorning them will most likely lead you down a path to failure. Now, I'm not talking about false hope and foolish prideful ploys to get you to say or do what someone wants done or said for their benefit. No. I mean when someone has your best interest at heart and speaks wisdom to you that builds you up and or challenges your abilities to accomplish a worth while goal in life. Then, you can add that person to your SET List. Time is limited for each of us. So, let us use it wisely.

Having been a college coach myself of a sport that I too had played in high school and college, namely the game of golf, I learned a thing or two about life during my twelve years at Liberty University training Champions for Christ as Dr. Jerry Falwell called them. I had other names, at times ,that I called them. However, I learned a lot and tell many stories of both them and Dr. Falwell in my book, True Tales of College Golf.

Did you laugh about me suggesting that a golfer can be taught something about the real world and or life while on a golf course? If you did, you don't play golf. Nevertheless, you could learn a thing or two from a golfer about life if they took up the challenges with and open mind and a willing spirit. I promise you he or she knows things. Golfers find out that others stand around and watch your mistakes. They not only watch them, they laugh and make jokes about the results of your hours of hard practice. The highs and lows during a golf round make for pictures of a person's inner control and patience. Life is also a lot about what happens just after a good thing, too often a bad thing. Then, what do you do? Do you throw up your hands and quit? No. Not as a golfer you don't and neither should we quit on life or a project. You must find a way to finish even if it means that you blame other things or people.
Sorry, I just fell back on one of the things I learned on the golf course. Of course, everything you learn out there is not uplifting nor wonderful. I came home after a game of golf and my wife said, "What do you do out there? You leave here in a great mood excited about the day's golfing prospects and come home so depressed." "Well, Dear, I feel good about not throwing my clubs nor did I curse one time." "Frank, you will be 68 years old, you should not still be throwing clubs and you are a Christian who has given up the dirty little curse words. What do you mean you feel good about not doing those things?" "Well, Dear, You do not play golf so I would not expect you to know." Don't misunderstand me. My wife is at the top of my SET List because she cares more about me than anyone alive today. The main ingredient needed to be on any one's SET List is a deep desire to see the other person become successful and fulfilled.

I remember my big brother telling me one time, "Buckle up little brother, you have seventeen more holes to play." I had just hit a new golf ball in the rather large and hideous overgrown weeded hill just beyond the tee box on our five par first hole at the Vincennes Elks Country Club where I grew up and caddied. I was just thirteen at the time and certainly needed a coach of encouragement. He was there for me that day and I thank God for him being there for me so many other times.
My attitude was horrible and the words that came out of my mouth were less than honorable at that young and foolish age. My temper was red hot and down right embarrassing for those who found themselves playing golf with me. In my audio book, Coach Landrey's 12 Encouraging Word Studies, I tell of the words my brother, Richard, said to me mid-season of my junior year in high school basketball that propelled me from the bench to a full scholarship to Georgia Tech by the end of my senior year.

While coaching golf at Liberty, I found out again about God's sense of humor. He gave me enough players to coach that had anger and life issues to keep me in my prayer closet. I often told player's to think about what they were doing to harm them selves as well as others on our team. It is like you and me telling mom and dad that we knew it all and did not need them. Then, we find out that the kids we raised some how knew it all. What a merry go around we find ourselves on in this life experience. Be an encourager to your family and friends. Speak truth in love. However, don't lie to them and give them false hope. Instead find that ounce of gold in them that we all have beneath our mounds of dirt. God don't make no junk!

Begin seeking out your SET List today. And, don't forget to be on several peoples' SET List yourself. This will be your Life's Legacy left behind for others to follow you down life's winding path. We are all beggars sharing our bread with one another. Until next time, All God's best!

Author's Bio: 

Personal: Married 44 years, 4 Daughters, 15 Grandchildren, 2 Great Grandchildren.
Education: Graduate of Lincoln High School, Georgia Tech, Luther Rice Seminary, Liberty University, and an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Philippine Seminary.
Business: President of J.R. Landrey and Sons, Inc. 31 years
Founder of Missions In Action and Pro Golf Ideas, Inc.
Head Golf Coach at Liberty University, 12 years.
Author of: True Tales of College Golf and Coach Landrey's 12 Encouraging Word Studies.
Politics: Ran for office twice, was a lobbyist to the legislature in Indiana and wrote/published Freedom Forum newspaper columns.
Radio Host: Two local radio stations, one year each.