Elder Neal A. Maxwell Counsels on How to Correct With Kindness and Compassion

Elder Neal A. Maxwell once counseled: “Be grateful for people in your lives who love you enough to correct you. . . . Correction can be an act of affection.” Candor sometimes connotes correc-tion, but when that correction is given with kindness, the one being corrected can feel the love that accompanies it.

Those who have an avoidant attachment style usually speak their mind with ease, often with bluntness and sometimes even with cruelty. They are typically not concerned about how the other person will react, because relationships are not important to them. They feel adequately self-assured in their own right. In contrast, the one who has an anxious attachment style is fearful of damaging or even losing a relationship, so they might speak with kindness at the expense of expressing how they actually feel.



Candor means clarity and brightness or truthfulness. Kindness infers that one speaks with care for the other person. Those with an avoidant style often focus too much on clarity, “saying it like it is,” while those with an anx- ious style emphasize kindness without speaking truthfully. In nei- ther case does the person strengthen an attachment with the other person. Those with a healthy, secure attachment use both candor and kindness, and the more such communication flows between two people, the stronger and healthier the attachment will become.

The scene is familiar in families: one sibling tries to help his other siblings by correcting them, but the two receiving correction  are offended, get angry, and attack the one trying to help them. Usually the anger leads to verbal attacks, but in the case of Nephi correcting Laman and Lemuel, they actually tried to kill him by tying him up and leaving him alone to die. After he prayed for strength and the bands were loosed, what did Nephi do? Did he retaliate? No, he “frankly” forgave them (1 Nephi 7:21).

Nephi was in control of his emotions, but his brothers were not. They let their feelings of offense escalate into anger, so much so that they wanted to take Nephi’s life. When my wife and I were raising our children we would often quote King Benjamin, who counseled his people not to “fight and quarrel one with another” (Mosiah 4:14). Fighting emanates from feelings of anger, so again we learn that bri- dling our passions is essential if we are to develop lasting, healthy, secure attachments to those we have been given to love.


The following was taken from the book Filled With His Love by Russell Osguthorpe, which is currently on sale at cedarfort.com