The look upon his face was angry and his hand gestures were aggressive as he commanded me to stop my car as I drove slowly into the undercover carpark of the shopping centre. He was not a security guard or a policeman and yet he was directing me in a similar manner, very clearly to stop. I thought for a moment that there was something significant happening or that he was warning me of some impending disaster but no, he was simply ensuring that his wife could back the car out of her spot. When he saw I had stopped he glared at me and without any further acknowledgement walked to his car and they drove off.
There are always two ways of doing things – a right way and a wrong way. This guy could have achieved his goal simply by being friendly and making a polite request but instead, he decided to be adversarial and surly. The outcome may have been the same but I was left with a decidedly ‘bad taste’ in my mouth.
A while ago I realised that the skills required to be a critic or a coach are basically the same. You have to be able to see a deficiency in the performance of an individual and a way that they could make that performance better.
The major difference between a critic and a coach is ‘attitude’ – the coach attempts to build the individual up and help them improve their performance, whereas the critic simply delights in pointing out where you went wrong.
It is interesting to me that I have never seen a statue or a sporting stadium named after a critic but I have seen several named after coaches.
I receive my fair share of criticism, we all do, but I am particularly thankful for the encouragement I am given along the way. The angry old man in the carpark made me think about how I respond and how I approach the various items in my day.
I can criticise and pull down or I can encourage and build up – I know which one I prefer and I am sure you do as well.
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:6
I hope your day is filled with encouragement – both given and received!