Handling Criticism During the Holidays

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The holidays are quickly approaching and along with them comes the gathering of family and friends. Oftentimes celebrating with our loved one is a wonderful experience, but when your convictions are outside the norm you can run into conflicts. Criticism is especially hurtful when it comes from those that we love most. We are sure to face these conflicts and should be prepared to do so graciously.

Know what you believe
Be ready with your answers to the questions and comments that you know you will face. If your family doesn’t think that homeschooling provides a strong academic standing, enough social interaction or that it’s just not possible for the average person to homeschool be ready with facts. Dr. Brian Ray has some great information at his site along with statistics that refute most of these fallacies.

If your personal convictions on how you raise your children are being challenged, understand that you most likely will not be able to convince others with your words or statistics. The old adage the proof is in the pudding applies to situations such as this. Seeing fruit in your children will most likely be the only evidence that convinces your toughest critics. The more readily we accept that we are unable to change someone’s mind the easier it is for us to deal with these circumstances.

Be slow to speak

When we are under attack it is hard to hold our tongues, especially when the topic is something that is important to us. The most important time to do this is when we feel most strongly, because that is the time we are most likely to say something we will later regret. Be slow to speak to those who are criticizing and choose your words carefully. Be careful how you say what you feel, often there is mis-communication due how we stated our feelings.

Run for protection

Wives fall under the protection of our husbands and this is a time we should quickly run for that protection. I have failed to do this many times and later regretted it. Our nature is to try to handle things ourselves and our husbands may be hesitant to jump to our defense because they believe we want to handle the situation. If you know you are heading into a potentially volatile situation, discuss your strategy in advance. Have a battle plan ready and be prepared to stick to it. If you believe your children may be peppered with questions, make sure that they are ready with answers as well. Let them know that they can always defer any questions to their dad by simply stating, “You’ll need to talk to my father about that.” Wives, you can make a similar statement deferring any situation that you may feel necessary to your husband. This statement should be made with a smile on your face and a genuinely sweet tone.

When you walk the road less traveled you are going to run into obstacles, often in the form of well meaning friends and family. As Christians we are to show love to others in all circumstances, even when being verbally attacked. We should always speak the truth, but we need to make sure we do so in love. When we began homeschooling we were criticized by many and told things such as our children would turn out stupid because we homeschooled them. When those we love say such things it hurts, but we need to do our best to act in a Christ-like way. I often failed in this area, but my hope is by sharing what I have learned from my struggles, you can avoid some of the same pitfalls.

Oh, and by the way, some of those same critics now encourage others to homeschool their children.

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