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July 10, 2011 / Man in the Mirror

Uncle PJ calling: Doers in a critics’ world

Apositive doer is one who does or tries to do something good. For example, a child keenly participating in debates, essay contests and art exhibits along with his difficult academic and personal routine.
A blind critic is somebody who criticises just for the sake of criticism. It is a person who always finds faults with others, criticises for fun or for boosting his own ego and continues to be addicted to the rip job. In principle, the role of a doer is more important than the job of a habitual critic. But in practice, it is a critics’ world where the role of humble and toiling doers is overshadowed by mere lip-service of sarcastic critics.
It is crucial to look at the nature of criticism. Positive criticism is marked by sincerity, maturity and reasoning. It not only pinpoints problem areas but also attempts to analyse and tackle them. The criticised person is not offended but trusted and taken into confidence.
Negative criticism may be criticism for the sake of criticism due to idleness or frustration in life. It occurs as a result of casual pastime, false prestige, self-projection and selfish interests. The target of criticism is demoralised or offended, resulting in escapism or retaliation, creating an air of mistrust and tension between the critic and the criticised.
A critic’s psychology, positive or negative, develops strongly at school. It is sometimes seen that children make fun of their own friends and classmates. They laugh at their language mistakes, ridicule them for poor marks and taunt when they do properly in extra-curricular activities. These critics need to be more positive in their approach by telling their trying mates about their skills that can be improved and how it can be done rather than ripping apart their efforts. Children who are trying hard to learn and perform are far better than their joking, criticising and distracting friends. Even a well-meaning but satirical criticism backfires in the most likely shape of retaliation.
Another example of the difference between critics and doers is that of real performers and mere critics of a stage play. The performers have toiled and sweated over that play for months and even years. Investors were sought, scripts were written, music was composed, lines were learnt and rehearsed and auditorium was rented. Finally, the play opens with stagehands, directors, make-up crew, musicians and curtain boys trying hard to put something special for the audience. But out there in the crowd somewhere sit a handful of critics, and if they do not like the play, it is finished. Just a negative catchword in a fraction of a minute can ravage months of labour and damage the image and reputation of the doers.
Even well-meaning but hurting and offending criticism on the part of such caring and sharing folks like parents or teachers is quite capable of not only choking the creative outlets of our children but is also indicative of demoralising them to evasion and escapism in academic, extra-curricular, school, family and social life at large. The adverse effects of cutting criticism on children whether from sarcastic classmates, cousins or well-meaning friends, family or teachers, have such silent adverse effects on them that latently contribute to socio-economic instability.
When criticism is backed by sincere intentions and by caring, sharing or counselling, it can add to trust, confidence-building and betterment of the criticised. There is nothing wrong with criticism as long as society does not make a hero out of the critic. The critic has his place. He has a legitimate job to do. But when we praise the critic for his rip job than the doer for his toil and creativity, the premium is being placed on the wrong job. It is much easier to criticise than to create and attempt, and it is much easier to tear something down than to build it.
To glorify the critic while ignoring the much greater contribution of the doer is gross injustice!

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