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Leader's Insight: Why Must We Always Criticize?

The tension between honesty, contentment, and encouragement.

From my journal: I eavesdropped on a conversation among some barely teenaged boys and girls the other day. Their topic: The Simpsons and family dysfunctionality. This led to exchanges about families the kids knew that were unraveling, producing more than a little sadness. The dialogue migrated to thoughts from one or two about ways in which family life can be spiffed up. And then this remark from one of the boys: "My family doesn't need any improvement." You may want to read that line again and save it with your 1915 buffalo nickel and other rare things.

The words, from a 13-year-old, were not spoken with pomposity, but rather quietly and matter-of-factly … like he really meant it.

I'm not naïve. I knew this kid might feel differently a day later when his mother insists that he take a shower or his father proposes a lawn cutting. But in that unguarded moment, it was a wonderful surprise to hear someone express supreme contentment with a set of close relationships.

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