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The Art of Positive and Negative Preaching


As journalists know—and radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh make a fortune on—the negative gets more attention and interest than the positive.
—Craig Brian Larson

I was coaching gymnasts at a local club for a few hours a week. As I took beginners from basic skills like hip circles on the high bar to more difficult tricks like giants, I repeatedly faced a decision intrinsic to the art of coaching: when to say what the gymnast was doing right and when to say what he was doing wrong.

Both were necessary. I couldn't help a beginner on the high bar by ignoring that he was about to swing forward with his hands in an undergrip position—he would peel in the front and fall on his head. "Don't ever do that!" I warned. "You'll break your neck."

But my ultimate goal was not just to avoid injury; I wanted these boys to become excellent gymnasts someday. So I encouraged them as they developed the fundamentals: "Good stretch. That's the way to hollow your chest. Nice scoop in the front."

Preachers face the same ...

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January/February
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