Criticism: Sometimes It’s the Sincerest Form of Loyalty

There is a tendency to assume that public criticisms about problems in the Ozark School District ( are an attack on the District itself.

What should one do when he/she sees fatal problems developing in an institution he/she loves?  The responsible, caring response is to attempt to remedy those problems from within.  If subsequently expelled from the institution, one can become apathetic toward the institution, hostile towards it, or critical IN DEFENSE OF IT.  The latter two courses of action may, at a glance, be easily confused for one another.

The difference surely lies in the nature of the criticisms an outsider is raising.  Are they personal attacks?  Or are they professional critiques, supported with evidence?

Are they indiscriminate, or are they restricted to specific criticisms of specific actions and attitudes of specific people – actions and attitudes which will cripple the beloved institution if unchecked?

Consider the motives and methods of the critics.  Are they pursuing the destruction or the reformation of the institution?

All organizations, even good ones, benefit from honest criticism, especially if we want them to improve.  As Queen Elizabeth II explained, “Criticism is good for people and institutions that are part of public life. No institution – City, Monarchy, whatever – should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t.”

How we interpret criticism has everything to do with how we receive the critic’s motives.  Whether we think it okay to criticize hinges on two things: 1) our assumptions about whether the criticism is true, and 2) our assumptions about the critic’s motives.

We invite those witnessing the public criticism of tyranny within the Ozark School District to consider the critics’ motives.

They could go away quietly.  They would certainly have less stress in their lives if they did.

Or they could take a stand, at considerable personal expense of time, emotion, and revenue.

Pay attention to the nature of their criticism.

Pay attention to the evidence they readily offer.

Then ask yourself whether they are likely motivated by bitterness or by love for an institution they invested so many lives in and which was the source of so many valued relationships.  None of the critics are seeking to return to the Ozark School District.  They just REALLY care about the health of the school district.

Leave a Comment