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Thumbs Up!
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As the adolescent boy entered the baptistery; his older teenage brother gave him a thumbs up. The touching scene brought tears to my eyes. Big brother approved his kid brother’s decision to walk with Jesus—and expressed it by the hand sign. Family members gathered together to see “their boy” accept the sacred rite.

Getting the thumbs up from family means a lot at any age—especially in times of decision or accomplishment and perhaps even more so in times of trouble. In other words, support through the thick and thin of life. There are so many temptations and adversities we all face. To have someone giving us the thumbs up for the happy times or to get beyond the hindrances that nag us are equally necessary. It can be of the loudest silent votes of confidence anyone can ever get from another.

There’s something very connecting about having someone give you the thumbs up. It evokes smiles from the receiver and the giver. The one getting feels approval and the one giving is happy to let the other one know how they feel about whatever it is they’re doing, have done or plan to do.

Very Good

The modern, positive meaning attached to the thumbs up hand gesture is strongly American. It became poplar during World War II, in particular with the American pilots based in China known as the Flying Tigers, who used the sign to their Chinese cohorts, as they took off for a skirmish. The Chinese responded with a like message “ting hao de” which means “very good.” and putting their thumbs up which means to them “you’re number one.” The Americans who flew from aircraft carriers also used this sign to alert the deck crew to remove the tires chocks before take-off.

Thus, thumbs up still means “good” for Americans. The one who gives that hand gesture usually flashes a broad smile at the same time. It’s become such a positive sign over recent generations that many people yearn to see the sign of acceptance sort of like “the yellow ribbon tied around the old oak tree.”

Is there someone in your family circle or extended family, who needs a thumbs up right now? It doesn’t cost you anything and you might encourage a member more than you can imagine if you give a real one or a metaphor of one such as telling that person why, as you say or write, ”you deserve a thumbs up!”

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By Betty Kossick. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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