I have a love, hate relationships with grades, evaluations, and feedback sessions. I honestly want, need, and look forward to understanding how well I’m doing. I hate being in the middle of things; not really knowing, wondering if there is yet another “surprise”, and even questioning the level of honesty. The key ingredient is, to me, the truth of what is being given. Without truth, what is the point?
I know this perspective isn’t natural. Near the end of my first date with Cherry, some twenty-seven plus years ago, I asked for an evaluation. Be candid I suggested. Tell me what you really think I urged. Give it to me straight.
Cherry thought the request and approach was strange, weird. She wanted to be positive. There were many things about the day she had enjoyed. Yet the day wasn’t perfect. I’m still not sure she was totally honest. Love is like that sometimes.
Over the years I have found love based compassionate feedback to be the best policy. I refuse to clap loud and hard for a performer that wasn’t good. Polite applause sends a quiet message. Everyone, no matter how strong, has room for improvement. My goal is to strike the cord which holds them to the higher possibility. With this approach my toughest evaluation sessions were always with the highest performs; as fantastic as they were I could see even more!
One might assume I always want positive news. Not really. I want the truth, even as I know I cannot always handle it all. I need to hear God tell me that “there's nothing to you. Pregnant with chaff, you produce straw babies; full of hot air, you self-destruct. You're good for nothing but fertilizer and fuel. Earth to earth—and the sooner the better.” (Isaiah 33.11, 12) This gives me the courage to look at my soul and see the first half of God’s evaluation. The second is just as critical; you are my beloved. You are a child of God. I have given everything for your redemption. Come, be with me.
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