A thought on feedback by Elena Paraskevas-Thadani (She/Her)

“Can you please look this over? And please be MEAN.”

My teenager put her laptop in front of me to review an essay. “I am always honest,” I said.

“No, be MEAN. Nitpick. Whenever we did peer review in school, I always gave my draft to the harshest, most brutally honest kid in the class. I knew they would make my draft better. If people are nice and say “good job” and don’t change anything, I don’t know how to make it better,” she explained.

So I reviewed her draft, which was already quite good, and tore it apart.

My daughter is a precocious writer. I know she’ll be okay. Not because her writing is strong, but because she can take critical feedback and use it to improve.

I want to thank all my mentors, colleagues, bosses, supervisors, and coaches, for being MEAN.