West Ham Archdeacon Elwin Cockett has proof that a bit of encouragement works


- Credit: Archant

As every football fan knows, Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were at the heart of England’s victory in the 1966 World Cup.

All three came up through West Ham’s renowned youth system and were nurtured by Ron Greenwood, still West Ham’s greatest manager ever.

When, as a star-struck fan, I met Ron Greenwood back in the 1990s, I asked him what his secret was. To my surprise, he gave me one word: “Encouragement. It’s encouragement”.

“My job”, he went on, “was to encourage young players to give the best of their God-given talents. Encouragement is what it’s all about.”

I remembered that recently when I heard of the death at the age of 99 of a teacher from my school days, John Scott.

Back when I was a rebellious 16-year-old, my school report reflected the frustration of most who taught me. The first entry was “He has done no work at all and will certainly fail”, and it got worse after that.

Just one teacher saw past the teenage angst to give me some hope for the future. Thanks to John Scott’s words of encouragement, I found the self-confidence to get through those years to where I am now.

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Encouragement isn’t a difficult skill. It’s not something that we need to do a three-year course in to be good at. It’s something that every one of us can practise. And it can make the world of difference to the people around us.

We can choose to criticise, and to knock each other down at every opportunity, and the result will be failure.

But when we choose to be the sort of people who encourage each other, to build each other up, to praise successes and to see beyond setbacks, remarkable things can happen. Encouragement can help all of us to give the very best of our God-given talents, with positive results for everyone.

Ron Greenwood encouraged West Ham’s World Cup heroes to achieve greatness. What could a bit of encouragement do for the people you know and love? More from Elwin

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