At a conference of educators, a renowned teacher was singled out for advice:
“Why do your students love hearing criticism from you?” attendees asked, “It’s our greatest challenge. What’s your secret?”
The teacher responded with a question: “How do you feel when your student misbehaves?”
The audience offered a variety of similar emotions: anger, annoyance, disappointment, insult.
“You see, that is precisely where the problem lies,” said the teacher: “Criticism is made up not only of words but also – and more importantly – of intention and feeling. The intention ultimately determines whether your words prove constructive or destructive. Indeed, if irritation has driven your criticism, the student will absorb not your words, but rather your negative emotions.”
In communicating a message, we often face the same challenge: How can we impart this particular idea? They just won’t listen.
Some suggest that we need to dilute the message, reform it.
This is a shallow approach. The message isn’t the problem, the messenger is.
We are all open to listening, and we are all aware of the areas in which we can grow. We simply want to hear it from the right person, from someone who walks the talk and speaks out of concern.
The reaction of the recipient tells it all. If you’ve spoken because you truly care, rest assured that the listener will sense that and accept your message. Take the time to truly connect to the person you’re speaking to. Release your own motives, step into their shoes, and then share a generous dose of sincere truth!
Wishing you and your family a Shabbat Shalom,