Destructive criticism

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“I don’t usually drink Coke,” one student said to another. “Walking around BYU with a Coke makes me feel rebellious.”

“I don’t drink soda regularly, but I know what you mean,” responded the other student.

Many students would feel similar to these two students if they walked around campus with a Coke.

The fact of the matter is that there are personal standards held by some Latter-day Saint students that others don’t follow —choosing to drink Coke or not, for example. Students striving to achieve high personal goals and standards should not criticize others who perhaps are not endeavoring toward the same goal.

We shouldn’t expect others to believe in and follow our goals and standards. The results can be negative. Many times I tried to impose my personal standards and goals on others. What happened? I lost a lot of good friends. I believed they needed to change, and I believed that I knew the best way to help them. My scrutiny had negative effects on the individuals around me.
Inevitably, we will influence those around us, and there is an inclination to get those around us to do what we do. How can we positively influence those around us? Oliver Goldsmith said, “You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.” Though simple, being an example is an effective tool to influence those around us. Those who watch will decide for themselves to follow or not.

Taylor Landon
Idaho Falls, Idaho

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