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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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ARE YOU A STRANGLER OR A WRANGLER?

In one of the most delightful books you'll ever read, A Touch of Wonder. Arthur Gordon told the story of "The Stranglers" and "The Wranglers." Gordon had a friend who had attended the University of Wisconsin. A group of brilliant boys with some real literary talent formed a club. At each meeting one would read a story or essay he had written. The others would criticize it. They were so relentless in their criticism that their group became known as "The Stranglers."

The girls, not to be outdone, formed a similar club called "The Wranglers." But instead of being critical and destructive, they were encouraging and uplifting.

The results could be seen 20 years later. Not one boy from "The Stranglers" had made any kind of reputation in literature. But out of "The Wranglers" a dozen or so girls had gained national recognition with their contributions to the field of literature. One of the group members was Majorie Kinnan Rawlings who wrote The Yearling.

How do you explain this? It was not that the girls had more talent, were smarter, or had better opportunities. The difference was this - one group gave each other a lift, while the other pulled each other down.

The Lessons:

1. VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE HELPED BY HARSH CRITICISM. Even if it is labeled "constructive," very little criticism is actually helpful. People are changed quicker, more completely and easier by praise than criticism. If you want one to adopt a particular lifestyle, develop a certain manner, etc. then praise them for their success in this area. It brings out the best.

2. BE A BUILDER. It's easy to fall into the habit of being a habitual "critic." It's also easy to fall into the habit of being an habitual "builder." How people love to be around someone who can find strengths, abilities and talents in them.

Are you a "Strangler" or a "Wrangler"?

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward
Smithville church of Christ