Critical of Criticism

I was working on different blog subject, but I felt this one was more timely. Not sure how things are in your part of the world Covid 19 wise, but here in Australia our Prime Minister has copped a hammering. To say it has been a difficult few months would be an understatement. We have had ongoing drought across much of the country for many years. Over summer there were bush fires and now corona virus. I’m not going to get into politics, but The PM has been criticized from pillar to post and back. No matter what he says or does there is always a chorus of criticism from keyboard warriors who don’t have all the facts at their disposal before making often vicious comments.

I sometimes wonder what lives this angry mob have led to make them so bitter and down right nasty towards someone they have never met-basing their information on media sound bites. Would they belittle and denigrate family and friends or work colleagues? On the one hand we abhor bullying but apparently it’s okay when it comes to public figures?

The perception seems to be that because he is the Prime Minister, people therefore have an automatic right to resent, attack, cut down and criticize. Extra tall poppy syndrome. The vitriol spewing forth from comments on any post the PM has made is horrific.

A quote by Theodore Roosevelt appeared on my social media and it just struck a chord with me:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Everyone needs encouragement to keep going when times are tough. Whether you are the Prime Minister or a cleaner.

I woman I knew, had a son who swam at the Laurie Lawrence swim school. Most Australians would know Laurie as a master motivator both on the pool deck and beyond. She was telling the story how some of the instructors were not very encouraging and the swimmers were copping lots of criticism. Morale in the squad was low and her son was despondent, wanting to quit.

The next training session Laurie happened to be there and was his usual over the top self. Up and down the side of the pool, yelling encouragement. The swimmers responded. They all swam so much better- because Laurie had faith and belief in each one of them. This story has stayed with me over the years.

Imagine what our leaders could do if they they were given some of the belief Laurie showed in the swim squad that day.

Hopefully there are enough people who see the value of encouragement in the world, in general and will stand against the tide of criticism and condemnation to be the still small voices that will rise above the petty negativity.


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