We love our furry children. Ricky and Lucy are always up to something. One of my favorite “bad dog” stories is when we’d first purchased the farm and were out working on fences. We brought the dogs with us, but since they are both runners, they had to be contained. It was too hot to leave them in the truck while we worked, so we set up a dog run between two trees.
Each of them had their own lead, so they could freely run about eighty feet, in the shade of the trees, or out in the sun to bask if they preferred. They often played together, so there was also the ability for them to be together or move apart. They had plenty of room to entertain themselves while we slaved away in the scorching sun, repairing wires and clearing the fence lines.
After the workday ended, we checked back on the two hooligans under the trees. I honestly expected to see them taking a nap. Yes, I was naïve then. I know better now.
As soon as they saw us coming, they ran to the front of the trees from where they’d been busy working, covered in mud. Apparently, their job for the day was to dig a tunnel to China, or so they thought. They were so excited they weren’t even ashamed of the fact that they were filthy with red Georgia clay. Stains covered their paws, snouts, bellies, and tails.
The hole was deep, so it was obvious they’d teamed up and devoted their day to accomplish the goal. You should have seen their faces, huge doggie smiles, happy with all they’d accomplished.
Unfortunately, we didn’t need a gigantic hole dug under our tree. We also didn’t want filthy pets to bring into our vehicle or our clean home. They didn’t get rewarded for their efforts. What a disappointment to them, I’m sure.
It made me think back to some of my previous work efforts. I’d work for hours on a project and couldn’t wait to share how much I’d accomplished. I’d have a grin a mile wide on my face, ready to have praise heaped upon me.
How frustrating when I’d find out the project wasn’t what someone needed, or the method used was flawed, or any of a zillion other reasons that I don’t get positive feedback. As a younger professional, I’ll admit I didn’t handle this type of rejection well.
Most of us go through a growing phase of learning how to deal with constructive criticism. As you mature, you learn to take in those minor blows to the ego and grow from them. Some who’ve been around long enough can take it one level above that—how to learn from criticism that isn’t constructive.
Let me share a life lesson with you, my precious reader. If you want to move in a positive direction in life, you need to learn how to deal with your mistakes positively. Not all people, even those who end up in authority, can provide feedback in a way that builds up instead of tearing down. Accept the concepts they are sharing and evaluate whether there is a basis for improvement. Use any nuggets you can find to improve your end product.
Never stop growing. As soon as you do, you’re dead in the water. And that isn’t where any of us want to be.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV