Okay, I can’t take it anymore. I have to say it. It drives me crazy when you see people who are constantly tearing kids down! You know who I’m talking about right? Those who always point out only negatives…but never see (or point out) the positives? I just spent two hours around one of these people. This person had the perfect opportunity to boost up the confidence level in about 10 kids. He seemed to do the opposite. Of course, it was not intentional (it never is), but still it was really difficult for those of us on the sidelines to see (and hear). Maybe, because it was “our” kids he was talking to(and of course we are all bias!). I know this was just his way of pointing out where our kids can improve, so they can learn from those mistakes and get better. However, I felt like I was watching a cartoon-constantly seeing the kids getting bonked on the head, by a giant, with a big hammer, each comment pushing them further into the ground. In reality it wasn’t this bad, however what these little bodies were looking for were little boosts of positive comments to lift them up a bit, to gain some confidence, so they could work on their skills and stop worrying about what they might be doing wrong. It took all of my willpower to keep my lips sealed (and my big mouth shut). Those of us on the sidelines who could see the big hammer, were working in full force to lift them back up again with positive comments. Yes, constructive criticism is a good thing. Yes, the kids need to see where their mistakes are so they can grow and learn. But can’t we make a sandwich with those comments? Can’t we place the negatives in between positives? Can’t we say, “good swing!” and then follow with “just remember, we only need to swing at the good pitches”, “good try out there though”.
Just think of how you feel when someone tells you how you should improve at work. It hurts right? We know we need to hear these comments to make ourselves better, but it doesn’t lessen the blow right? Doesn’t it seem easier to digest when it’s sandwiched in between two good comments? “Thanks for taking on those extra tasks today!” ” I really needed you to print the 1,000 pages in color remember?” “I’m really thankful you are here to help, I wouldn’t be able to finish the project in time without your help.”
Sandwiching the negatives in between the positives, teaches where we can improve, but also teaches mistakes are okay to make. Without mistakes, would we ever learn? Without the positives, would we ever gain the confidence to learn from our mistakes?
Are you sandwiching comments (especially with kids)? I know, I’m working on building more sandwich comments now…