Are you quick to commend or condemn?

Your Weekly Motivation

While at home one Sunday afternoon, I got a surprising phone call. The call was from a local pastor who said that he sought out my telephone number because he wanted to call and let me know how much he enjoyed my article that was published in this column that week. Pleasantly surprised, I told him that I truly appreciated him calling just to say that. I further explained that it was quite encouraging because often I do not know if persons are reading the column but when they take the time to send a message, stop me in public or call as he did, it encourages me to keep writing. He then replied by saying that he’s sure that people are reading but most people are quick to express disapproval when you do something bad instead of commending the good.

Wow! That is such a true statement. I read a story via WhatsApp that illustrated this same fact. The story went as follows:

“One day a school teacher wrote on the board the following: 9x1=7, 9x2=18, 9x3=27, 9x4=36, 9x5=45, 9x6=54, 9x7=63, 9x8=72, 9x9=81, 9x10=90. When she was done, she looked to the students and they were all laughing at her because of the first equation which was wrong. The teacher then said to the students, ‘I wrote that first one wrong on purpose because I wanted you to learn something important. This was for you to know how the world out there will treat you. You can see that I wrote the right thing nine times, but none of you congratulated me for it, but you all laughed and criticized me because of one wrong thing I did. So this is the lesson: The world will never appreciate the good you do a million times, but will criticize the one wrong thing you do…don’t get discouraged. Always rise above all the laughter and criticism.”

I thought that was very inspiring and a brilliant illustration. What about you, do you often show appreciation for the good that others do or are you more likely to criticize the wrong that they do? Are you quick to commend or condemn?

To commend means to give praise. To condemn is to show disapproval or an unfavorable judgment on. It is unfortunate but I am of the opinion that many persons condemn much more than they commend.

As a Corporate Trainer, when doing leadership training, I share with managers and supervisors how important it is to commend employees when it is due. Employees often complain about never being praised or shown appreciation when they do good work but as soon as they do something wrong, their leaders are quick to point out their errors. Some leaders may say that their subordinates are expected to do good work and therefore they don’t see it necessary to commend them but when they do wrong it is necessary to point out the errors so that they will not make the same mistakes again. While it may be necessary to quickly point out and have mistakes corrected, it depends on how it is done; the tone etc. However, when you practice giving praise for good work, you may be surprised at how this boosts your employees’ morale. It encourages your subordinates to continue to ensure that they perform well and they may also be more receptive to you pointing out their errors because you never hesitate to give praise when it is due.
Many parents are also guilty of condemning their children more than they commend them. A child brings home a report card from school with 9As and 1c and the parent is quick to make noise about the C before saying (if ever) anything about the As. This totally demoralizes the children as they may feel that their efforts are not appreciated.
As husbands and wives and in all of our relationships we must learn to commend one another and show appreciation and encouragement to each other. It goes a long way. As someone once said, “Relationships live and die on how we handle each other’s failures”. If we all remember that none of us are perfect and that we all make mistakes, this should help us to better deal with the mistakes of others.

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as once saying, “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do.” Let us therefore not be fools, let us learn to commend rather than condemn.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, we are admonished to, “Encourage one another and build one another up”. Let us all make a conscientious effort to commend one another instead of always condemning. It can make a world of a difference!
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