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As Father’s Day approaches, I reflect on my role as a father and the difficult job of trying to teach children what to do and what not to do. The role of criticism comes center stage. Wrestling with how to teach even today as a father and grandfather still comes down to pondering how do I deal with criticism and the false euphemism of “constructive criticism.” It doesn’t work coming from a parent, especially a father, for it is always seen as an attack.
What I have learned most from constructive or more properly called negative criticism is self-loathing and personal despair. Once over that I stumbled forward, none the wiser, but more cautious. Those who wish to teach using negative criticism only fool themselves into thinking it is teaching in route to learning.
However, learning comes mostly from emulation. It’s how we learned to walk, talk, sing, and live.
I’ve heard it said we learn more from our failures than our successes, but I’m not so sure. Failures are filled with angst, depression, cynicism, skepticism, contempt and loss of confidence. Yes… Failure is a part of life, but well worth leaving behind as quickly as possible. Visiting the caverns of failure should only be done after positive experiences have led us to understand we are of value.
Perhaps in tranquility we can then stop for a moment at the cavern of failure, peek inside and pull out something of use for later. Should anyone seek to shove us down into that dank cavern of despair through words of criticism, to make sure we learn from our failures, we enter unarmed and at the mercy of the bowels of negativity.
Instead, journey forth to the springs of eternal life and sip from the clear pools surrounding it. Take others with you. Encourage them as if they were already there.
A mansion can be built upon a tiny foundation of Kind Words if encouragement and positive thoughts are the concrete and steel. As those thoughts mature into actions, the foundation magically increases and soon becomes rock solid and a far larger platform than the loftiest mansion may need.
As the shingles of positive thoughts are applied to the roof, no longer are the hailstorms of negative criticism allowed to damage the mansion’s gossamer draperies and plush carpets.
I’ve considered criticism, and conclude that… I welcome all criticism so long as it is filled with love and adulation.