Connected to the topic of snarkiness is morale. When parents are constantly nagging their children, the kids’ morale is in the tank. When a wife is regularly complaining to her husband about all the stuff he’s not doing and all the needs he’s not meeting, it’s no wonder he has low morale. When no one is saying thanks to Mom for all her labor taking care of the family, she can feel like looking for another job. We are all affected by the opinions of others, especially those whom we love most, but also those who are in authority over us. Sometimes the same people occupy both these positions.
When the family morale is low, it’s no wonder the kids leave and move as far away as possible as soon as possible. When Mom and Dad aren’t getting along, the kids feel it. When the boss is complaining to the workers about how they are not doing their share, when in fact they are laboring hard, it’s no wonder they have little loyalty to the company. Loyalty inspires confidence. Criticism and snarkiness destroy confidence and loyalty.
When parents are loyal to the kids, the kids have high morale. When wives stand behind their husbands, the husbands are inspired to lead with confidence, knowing they’ve got a cheerleader pulling for them. When a boss verbalizes his appreciation of the hard work of his employees, they feel more optimistic about their job, and more blessed to have it. When the elders stand behind their pastor, the church is a happier, healthier place. But when the atmosphere of the home or the school or the church is characterized by criticism, snarkiness, competition, and rivalry, the morale goes down with the ship. It’s the difference between law and grace. Some places are characterized by get-to’s and some places are characterized by have-to’s. If your son comes to you asking for help, but leaves with a bigger load spiked with criticism, do you think he’ll ever come asking again?
You can have two institutions with similar goals, similar people, and similar circumstances in both. One has high morale and the other has low morale. You can feel it when you walk in the place. You can tell by the long, droopy faces on the kids or the sour expressions on the parishioners faces. What causes this? Usually it starts at the top. If Dad or the boss or the administration is loyal, supportive, encouraging, and appreciative, the family or workers feel privileged to be on the team. If, on the other hand, the guy at the top is in an adversarial relationship with his staff or his kids, then he may as well chase them away with a stick. He’ll get the same results.
We all have opportunities to improve the morale of the crew. How can you give your family a more optimistic and loyal perspective? What can you do at work to encourage those who work for you? Finding fault is the easiest thing in the world, as the old Puritan says. Encouragement requires discipline, but has far better results.