I went to go get some food for my wife and I at a very popular place where a lot of baseball teams go after they play. What I witnessed at the counter was a father giving his son some feedback on the game that was just played. As I sat a couple seats away, I quietly listened, not letting them know I was listening. The father began to tell his son he could not make the mistakes he was making during the game. He was mentioning things like striking out or dropping fly balls, which are really physical errors, not mental errors.
As I sat there and I listened uncomfortably, I realized not once did this dad tell his son, I'm proud of you or you're doing a great job. You're gonna get so much better. Trust your coaches. What I did hear was him depict inning by inning, the mistakes his son made. As I watched his son who just stared ahead and never made eye contact with his dad. As they sat parallel from each other at a counter, the kid was never smiling, never really seeming to enjoy the conversation. When the waitress came up and gave them their food to go and they got up to leave immediately. The son had a smile on his face. I think the smile came from the fact that the conversation was now over. What's going to happen to this kid if he continues to get feedback like that and he enters the workplace. What if his boss gives him really good feedback that's accurate, albeit constructive, will he listen? Or will he shut down much like what he was doing or at least appearing to do with his father?
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