I’m learning that teaching, grading, parenting, married life, friendship–all the things I do (and all the things you do in whatever category) should mostly involve encouragement.
People are already too hard on themselves anyway. Their internal criticism runs all the time, and I don’t need to pile on feedback and criticism and correction. Even in a situation that requires correction (grading, parenting), I’m beginning to see the impact of 90% encouragement and 10% feedback.
I see that people don’t shut down if they feel encouraged. They’re more open to learning and more positive. They’re more likely to think about what you’re saying when they feel encouraged. Tell your spouse, your child, or your student ten things they are doing right and maybe the one thing you need to offer feedback on for change.