A few weeks ago, I found myself in ballet class with one of my students. Because the class was small, the teacher had the opportunity to offer a lot of individual corrections and many of these corrections were directed to my student, “Z.”
As a fellow student in the class, I had the opportunity to observe how the instructor’s attention began to affect “Z.” Specifically, over time, I could see that every subsequent comment from the instructor had a damaging effect on “Z.” She increasingly became despondent and her performance in the class reflected that deflated outlook. Instantly, I felt her pain. As a dancer, I had experienced similar effects at various points within my own my own career.
The interesting part about this situation has been the fact that although I can trust that the teacher was acting from the best of places – i.e. he wanted to help “Z” grow as a dancer – there came a point where his “help” was no longer “helpful/helping.” For instead of receiving his attention as a motivating force, by the look of “Z’s” body language, it appeared as those every comment was received as a borage of attacks that affected her physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The question I have for you, the question I have been asking myself since having made this observation, is what type of helper are you and are you able to stop when your form of assistance is no longer of assistance to the person on the receiving end?