Lately I have found it hard to find the line between feedback and criticism. In January I had to go to the Emergency room where it was discovered that I had gall bladder stones. When I got out of surgery, it was also discovered that I had Influenza A and E. coli in my blood. The flu had become so bad that I had pneumonia which is why I had gone to the ER in the first place.
After six days in the hospital which was quite eventful, hubby brought me home and has had to do a lot for me that he was not used to. This is where the problem comes in. Do I tell him when something is not quite right? Or do I just ignore, suck it up and keep my mouth shut?
Of course, many would say let him know so he can do it right the next time. But, what if there is a lot of “letting him know” going on? Would not this tend to be overwhelming for him? He really is trying and is so sweet in what he is willing to take on.
This dilemma has become apparent in other parts of society. Look at the Special Olympics where the only feedback allowed is positive. Look at school classes where students are not given criticism and instead allowed to “just do their best”. Human Resource Officers frown on bosses who criticize and harp on employees who are not getting the job done right. Sometimes it even is called a “hostile workplace.”
I can understand the Special Olympics. These children NEED positive feedback, they need the praise and encouragement afforded to them in these events. But what about in the classroom where progress needs to be encouraged and mistakes need to be corrected? What about the employee who costs the company money for not getting it right over and over?
When the girls were in ballet and hubby and I would go to the yearly recitals it became obvious that some classes were not ready for a recital. Hubby believed that giving them applause was sending the wrong message. He said they would believe they were good and not strive to become better. Me, I wanted to clap for the effort. In my mind it was the teacher who was at fault not the children. Besides, who could resist those cute little three year olds in their tutu’s and tiny ballet shoes?
Criticism, feedback, applause, praise. When do you use them? When you withhold them?
In the case of myself and hubby who was trying to do the impossible and please a difficult wife it has become a tightrope that both of us walk. If he fixed me some scrambled eggs that were swimming in butter, then I sucked it up and ate them. I just did not ask him to fix those for me again. But, I did tell him the toast was wrong because that will be something he would be fixing for me again. Then just last night he mentioned getting in trouble for doing toast wrong – so he did not take that feedback very well. Or I did not deliver it very well. Or perhaps I should not have said anything.