No Opinion Required

By: Detri McGhee

Over 25 years ago, my nearly 2-year-old grandson gave me the “special” opportunity to change an extremely foul-smelling, unusually full dirty diaper. I commented without any emotion, and careful not to gag…“Boy! You did a BIG SMELLY DIAPER this time, didn’t you?!?

He caught me off-guard with his strangely adult-like response of, “Yes, I did.”

NO anger, pain, offense, embarrassment – no excuses at all…

Just a simple agreement with the facts. “Yes, I did.”

IMAGINE…if you will…JUST IMAGINE…What if we all responded to similar situations with just such objectivity?

We all make some big smelly messes in life sometimes. Wouldn’t it be amazing if – when those messes occur – we each approached the cleanup with such maturity, objectivity, patience, and grace? No anger. No offense. No self-justification. No excuses. No retaliation. No attempts to shift blame!

“Well, WE have a big mess on our hands, don’t we?” Here’s what I can do to help. Here’s what YOU can do to help. These events just simply happen. Sometimes I make them myself. Sometimes YOU will make

them. Sometimes we have to help clean up when we had NOTHING to do with the problems. So? Let’s don’t wallow in the muck and mire of life’s problems. Let’s set about to fix them and move on.

The Society of Today seems to be just the opposite of this. Nearly everyone feels it is their right and even duty to form an opinion on everything that comes before them. Whatever topic is brought up, it seems everyone in the room has an opinion on it. How EXHAUSTING! Really! I mean, with so much information before us at every turn, how could we expect any one person to have a reliable, thoughtful, correct opinion on every single topic out there?

So, here is our Principle: “Never look for reasons to be offended.”

A SHORT STORY: One of the most FREEING REVELATIONS I personally received centered on an offshoot of this Principle; it is a Secondary Principle I’ll share with you in a moment. It had been an extremely challenging, difficult workday, and the day was FAR from over! I had gone into the grocery store for a few items, hurried home to get dinner started, then run to school to pick up son from football practice knowing that the coach would probably keep them 30 minutes or more longer than was scheduled, come back home E V E N T U A L L Y – to finish dinner, clean up after, wash a couple loads of laundry while helping with homework if needed, and at some point, get ready for bed so I could get up the next day for the 67-mile drive to work…I had no time to chat! A friend, who was more of an acquaintance than close friend, stopped me by the lettuce, and obviously wanted us to have an extended visit over the flaws of our choir director, and share a “problem” we all knew about in detail, she asked… “WHAT DO YOU THINK?” Well, as pianist for the group, obviously she thought I would be a valuable ally to her if I agreed, which she assumed that I would, by the tone of her question. I took a deep breath, not wanting to say what I really thought… (Which was, “I think you should stop gossiping. You and your best buds are far more of a problem than he is!”) I mean, you can SEE why I didn’t want to actually SAY that, right? So, again, I took deep breath, prayed for grace and peace, and said VERY KINDLY…SOFTLY, “Do you really want to know what I think?” I said leaning in…She followed leaning in, I continued slowly, thoughtfully, “What I really think… is…right now, I am so very thankful that THAT is none of my business, and I don’t have to spend any time or energy forming an opinion about it!” Quickly moving, I added, “I’ve got to run… Have a great evening.” So, here is that Secondary Principle…

“I am not required to have an opinion about everything.”

Detri would love to hear your thoughts and stories, especially ways you have either overcome or struggle with criticism. You may email her at or follow her at the newly created Facebook page, Criticism Management by Detri.

By: Detri McGhee – CLU, ChFC