It seems like everything that we do these days has two elements to it. The first element is actually participating in the activity. The second element is the questionnaire we are suppose to fill out where we rate all of the aspects of how the activity provider managed to lead us in conducting the activity. We recently stayed in a hotel for the weekend and I have received no less than three emails requesting me to fill out a survey on my stay. I went to a camp with my son last weekend and at the end of camp, sure enough, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire on our experience. It seems that every company, amusement, experience, or activity these days involves soliciting as much information from you as they can get to try to make your experience better.
Let’s turn the tables around a little bit, though. I recently had my annual review at work. My supervisor went through and evaluated my performance in several areas to come up with an overall rating. An annual review can be a time where a supervisor can point out some deficiencies in your work habits or could be a time when they suggest some new responsibilities or goals for you to work toward. When the evaluation involves you, it is not as comfortable as when you are able to fill out an anonymous questionnaire and be on your way. How do you handle having your work criticized?
Let’s move the conversation into our homes. At home, everyone may feel a little more comfortable speaking their mind and may not hide their feelings as much. How do you as a husband deal with having your actions criticized from your wife and kids? Do you handle this in a Christian manner or do you let your anger get the best of you? Today we are going to look at handling criticism effectively in our homes?
Expect criticism whenever you try to do anything for God and for good
Chances are pretty good that somebody in your family is going to let you know what they think about some aspect of how you lead the family in a Godly manner. In most Christian homes, the wife may be the more spiritual leader in the family. You can expect that if you are trying to lead the family she may have some input on your direction. Also, you can bet that the kids are going to make getting to church and activities as hard as they can. There will be the “I don’t want to go,” the “It will be boring,” and, of course, the “Why do we have to?”
Take into account the criticizer
In most families, there is a whole gamut of people with various states of water in their glasses. So, you need to take into account the source of the complaints to determine its validity. We have one kid that will go anywhere with you at the drop of a hat without even knowing where you are going. We have another that complains about going anywhere and wants every aspect of the trip spelled out and almost signed off on before he is willing to go. Usually the complainer absolutely loves whatever it is we are doing once we are there, but everything involved with getting to the destination is a struggle.
See if there is anything to learn from the criticism
Nobody likes to receive criticism, but often there is some truth in the complaints that you might be able to use to make things better. It may be that there is something you are doing that you can improve upon or even learn the correct way. It could be that there is some reason that your wife loads the dishwasher a certain way or washes and folds the clothes in a particular manner. Use criticism as an opportunity to be open to learning.
In our families, do we let our wife or kids finish telling us what their problem is with what we are doing or do we immediately defend ourselves. Now with kids, they are probably going to complain about certain things and the next week will complain again. So, take this piece of advice accordingly when it involves your kids. As for your wife, it is extremely important that you listen and understand her concern before you begin to try to defend yourself.
Ask for help and their prayer for you to change
We can almost all improve. If a family member comes to you with a criticism where you can improve an area of your life, use the opportunity to ask for their assistance in making the change and ask for their prayer support.
Silence may be the best option
Women are not usually good with this one, but men seem to understand that sometimes saying nothing is your best option when confronted with criticism. It may be that you do not want to start an argument with your wife or kids. It might be that staying silent gives you time to control any anger you might have about their criticism and evaluate if there is any truth to it. Focusing on maintaining your composure and maybe just replying, “Thank you,” may be your best option.
Sharing the truth in love when your character has been attacked
Sometimes criticism gets ugly. If your character has been attacked it is best to lovingly confront the criticism with the truth and then leave it in God’s hands.
Trust your motives and your position
If you feel that criticism you are receiving is not true, continue doing the right thing and truth will be vindicated over time. Let your faith in God lead you and help guide you to move in His will.
Once you have received criticism and you have either corrected yourself or stayed firm to your position it is extremely important that you do not hold onto any bad feelings for the critic. If you can’t let go and move on you might need to reevaluate how you are dealing with the criticism. Harboring a grudge against the critic isn’t going to help you or the critic out, so you would do best to let God handle it and put it in His hands.