There is a story told that “Following a parade, the mayor of a large American city was walking with his wife when they passed a man sweeping the streets.  The wife recognized the street sweeper as one of her old high school boyfriends.  The three had a short conversation before the mayor and his wife continued on their way.  Halfway down the street the mayor leaned over to his wife and whispered, ‘Just think, if you had married him, today you’d be the wife of a street sweeper.’  His wife smiled and whispered back, ‘No, if I had married him, today he’d be the mayor.”

While this humorous story is most likely fictitious, it does a great job of illustrating a powerful point.  People will rise to our expectations.  When they (our spouse, our children, the person we are dating – and just about any relationship), are treated with love and respect, and are offered support – they will rise to our expectations, frequently exceeding their initial abilities.  But the opposite is also true.  If we are condescending and demeaning, offering no support – individuals will sink to the level of our expectations as well – dropping below what most believed that person was capable of.  The statement has been made that “behind every great man is a great woman.”  I would modify that to say that behind every achieving individual is a supportive fan club.  This truism has been demonstrated in the lives of spouses and children time and time again.

So today’s question is simple – how are you supporting those whom you most care about? Are you loving them in a manner that encourages them and lifts them to new heights?  If not, consider today how you might begin to do so.  And who knows, you just might be encouraged and receive a lift in the process.