New Year’s Resolution, Part 1

Dear Ms. Feverfew,

This came across my email from a listserv I participate in. (“Listserv. Really?” you might be asking. Yes, they still exist, which is a wee bit odd considering the field of study – instructional TECHNOLOGY, but I digress…).

The topic was New Year’s resolutions for participants in relation to professional development. In the list the moderator came up with, she wrote,

“3. Criticize positively with critical thought processes and try to write down that thought process so that there is no misunderstanding. Egos seem to bruise easily. Constructive criticism can make us better at what we do.”

Good point, Bev, good point. Dr. Ken Masters upped it with his response:

Hi Bev

In relation to your first three points (so I’ll squeeze it in at 3.5):

3.5: Be slow to take offence, especially when reading online.  Assume
that it was not intended: we all have different things we might not find
funny, that others might; people may not be communicating in their
mother-tongues; things that are not acceptable (or taboo) in our culture
may be perfectly acceptable in anothers. If you are offended, and feel
the need to respond, point out that some might take offence, and
explain the reasons calmly and rationally. You will learn something
about someone else’s viewpoint, and may even question assumptions about
your own.  Finally, if the person really _did_ intend to offend you, why
let them know that they have succeeded?




Dr. Ken Masters
Asst. Professor: Medical Informatics
Medical Education Unit
College of Medicine & Health Sciences
Sultan Qaboos University
Sultanate of Oman
E-i-C: The Internet Journal of Medical Education

To his excellent addendum, Jan took it one step further:

I’ll add a 3.5a here: If you are offended, email the person privately to get clarification, then you can disagree politely on the list. – Jan, INST listserv


I think this is going to be my New Year’s resolution, part 1 in adoption-land. Now if I could just have made that resolution last Saturday night. But then again, I wouldn’t have met a new friend in Lola. As explosive as our relationship started out to be, it turns out that she and I have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more in common than either of us ever thought possible prior to WWIII. I mean, come on – she has the same shower curtain as me.

Much love,


1 thought on “New Year’s Resolution, Part 1

  1. I know! I am so, so, SO grateful that you left that message! Though it was not well-received {at first} and even caused me to make something of an arse {okay, a huge one} of myself, it was ALL worth it in the end because I am so happy that I am getting to know you. Definitely meant to be. Definitely set me on a new and very important path to understanding. Definitely a good, good thing.

    Also, these people make EXCELLENT points. Very well said indeed.

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