Criticism

I consider criticism to be a teacher of such value that it deserves to be honored with a page of its own. Criticism is my mirror: it warns me when my life path steps falter and it guides me back when I lose my way. It gives me strength, and the more I listen to it, the stronger I grow.

People are often criticized because they dare to question, dare to challenge, dare to make a difference. If their voices and actions were irrelevant, they would be ignored. When they are criticized, it is a compliment — it means they are being heard and causing people to think.

Many years ago my beloved Elder, Keewaydinoquay, was lambasted on the front page of a major national newspaper. Here she was: a quiet grandmother who respected all people and all ways, and a couple of predatory reporters, under the guise of writing a human interest story, interviewed her for a sensationalist exposé on how she was luring the sons and daughters of good God-fearing people out into the wilderness to practice secret pagan rituals.

She was devastated.

I respectfully suggested that she look at the piece as a compliment. “Anyone who makes a difference will be noticed,” I said, “both by those who are thirsting for change and those who feel threatened and want to preserve the status quo.” Knowing that most people see cheap journalism for what it is, I offered that the piece might actually have planted seeds.

Sure enough, a groundswell of support came her way and scores of new people were awakened to new possibilities for their lives.

Whether criticism be respectful or spiteful is secondary to me, as any response to the wrapping is merely an ego reaction. My interest is in the substance. The tone only elicits my empathy, as it reminds me that I have yet to meet someone who involves him/herself in other people’s business (whether it be gossip, criticism, or judgmentalism) who is content with life.

Because nearly all criticism contains a morsel of truth, and because the purpose of this webpage is to have you know me, I am here listing links to all the personal criticisms I am aware of. If you know of any others, please send them to me and I’ll include them. Whatever your reaction to these people and their opinions, I ask that you be respectful of them. These are their realities, their truths; and for this reason alone these people deserve to be honored.