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Published: December 13, 2012 print this article Print save this article Save email this article Email ENLARGE TEXT increase font decrease font

Careful with criticism

Before coming to Butler, I served for many years as a counselor and teacher in the Ohio public schools. While working with junior high students, I found one of the things that gave them a lot of difficulty was coping with criticism.
Criticism came from family members, friends, teachers and more. If the only time children get attention from their parents is when they do something wrong, they might learn that misbehaving is the best way for them to get attention.
We are reluctant to accept correction from family members unless we are sure that it comes to us in a loving, concerned way. If parents can communicate the idea that they are correcting their children in order to help them, their children then can grow up not being so sensitive to criticism. The children must accept the idea that the correction is for them, not against them.
The one thing that most contributes to divorce is a critical attitude. If a married couple has a critical spirit that leads them to rip apart other people for their failings, sooner or later they surely will turn on each other.
We need to remember not to become too concerned when people mildly correct us. It’s a part of their God-given instinct to try to improve things. When people try to improve us too harshly or too often, it can become quite annoying and even harmful.
Putting someone else down by means of criticism is a way by which people often try to bolster their own feelings of self-worth. There still are people who think they can get ahead by forcing others down. They might enter into a game of slander and gossip to destroy the reputation of the people ahead of them, so they can assume their positions. The “Absalom Technique” is used by politicians who think they will be elected by slandering their opponents.
Pain often is expressed by means of criticism of others. Whenever people criticize in a loud, angry tone, listen carefully. It might be that they are really asking for help.
Life is enriched when we learn to appreciate the gifts and interests of others, rather than insisting that they think exactly the way we do. Use criticism rarely, if ever, and never if anything else will work.
Criticism must be handled with great care. Calling other people names and judging them are two offensive ingredients of criticism.
Accept, and you will be accepted; criticize and reject and you will be criticized and rejected.
If one cannot accept a person, then he or she can’t change that person.
Criticism is Satan’s number one tool to break up homes. Husbands and wives get into such a dreadful habit of criticizing each other that they erect a barrier of unhappiness between them.
No matter how far off-base we think another person is, the way to solving the problem is through dialogue and reasoning together.

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Ed Galloway
Center Township
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