“I like that dress.”

Today I was reminded of another great truth by Nick. Arden, Nick and I were watching a local figure skating competition this afternoon. The competitors were not elite level skaters. Most of the kids were pre-teens who were at the beginning levels of competitive ice skating. There were lots of mistakes and falls.

I was sitting there watching the programs, noting the errors and commenting on what I thought each skater should do to improve. Since I competed in figure skating, and coached for many years, it is what I have trained myself to do.

One particular girl had not successfully completed any elements in her program. Each time she fell, she got up and resumed her program until the next fall. I felt bad for her, but as I was telling Arden what I thought of her jumps and spins and choreography, Nick turned to me and said, “I like that dress.”

He was right, the dress was beautiful. The young girl looked just like a princess.

In that moment, I realized that I was being critical in my comments, and I could choose to be positive instead. Nick had found something to say that was truthful, in the face of what appeared to be a disaster of a performance. With his simple statement, he reminded me that as a spectator, my job was to encourage the skaters by clapping and cheering them on. It was not my job to critique them.

For the rest of the afternoon, I enthusiastically clapped and cheered for the skaters. It was more fun and I was grateful for the reminder.

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