From the food we are served to the air of our society, we have and frequently air many grouses. To criticise really is no genuis' work. All it needs is for you to have an opinion; and we all have opinions - they can be a repeat of some other opinion or a little more layered with more of our self thrown in. Criticism is easy.
Then there is critiquing. This is harder as it requires that you have some basis and ground for pointing out the gaps and sticking contrary ideas to holes you find in a situation. Again in our day of self-importance and information overload, we think ourselves very clever when we do this.
But so far, none of these really make for real engagement and change.
Like when my son's kindergarten teacher said after my son cheerily greeted her, "Why such a nice greeting...but in class, move here move there...". I acquiesced. But now I am pretty mad about it. What has she done?
Based on her preference for order in class and perhaps some training she has about structure and learning, she has criticised and critiqued (?) my son but done nothing more. He is not built up, encouraged or aided to further insight.
I am not saying we coddle our children and protect them from the truth. But, how about moving on to Creative Construction? In this instance, the teacher can see the child as a 'problem' or as a 'gift' for her to grow her teaching++ abilities.
She can resist relying on her knee jerk response and sinking into her preferences to see that as the adult she can take charge and bring change positively if she wins the child's affection and attention.
Likewise, for many of us, complaning is the norm. Creative construction is hardly ever considered. How can we take charge, add value and reframe so that things can be seen more positively and thereby energy can be found to move forward.
I think of conflicts for example. We disagree, of course we do. But most of the time our disagreements are rooted in criticism and critiques. How differently things will be if we brought our ideas tentatively to the other/team and seek creative construction. Instead of an either/or, we may get both/and as an outcome.
Creative construction demands too much from us. We are too mired in our little puny cubby holes. It calls for us to make connection and find reliance on a meta meaning. So in the case of conflict, if we believe in the meta meaning that we can keep growing as persons; we can ask 'how is this helping me grow?'. This Q immediately changes our posture and energises us for creative construction. We can go on to ask, 'how is this an invitation for the relationship to grow?'. If we can agree on the meta meaning, we can hang our labels and badges on the higher hooks of purpose beyond what we can pursue - and humbly work towards a greater goal: and not just my way versus yours.
For my son's teacher, I want to say to her "his enunciation is great. why not work on his strength?",and "i am sure you are able to find fun ways to manage all these rowdy boys".
Let's see what happens next!