This past Shabbat morning, a 14 year old kid read the haftarah at the synagogue I went to. As he read, one person (a family member) continually corrected him loudly with an aggressive tone when he made mistakes (This all happened while the ba'al koreh was next to the boy). A few corrections later, the kid stopped for a few seconds before continuing. The way he was being corrected was rattling him. I've known this kid for a few years and he always comes off as a kid with a healthy self-esteem, but he looked shaken yesterday when he came down from the bima. Later on, I went up to him and told him he did a good job and to not worry about the corrections, "You read well, and you'll only get better." "Don't worry, I'm used to it," he responded with a dejected frown.
This really bothered me most of Shabbat. It reminded me of my Bar Mitzvah experience - I was confident, and I thought I had read my parasha perfectly. When I asked my late Nonnou how I had done, he said something along the lines of "You did very well, but you made 7 mistakes." Despite this, Nonnou left the corrections to the ba'al koreh next to me and allowed me to read without any interruptions. While I'm rather certain my errors were minor (most likely 'small' pronunciation - where Nonnou was very strict - errors), I never found out where I erred ... so who knows!
While some may say Nonnou's handling of the situation put me in a worse position than the boy at synagogue yesterday, I feel exactly the opposite. I came off the bimah that day confident, happy with my performance, and eager to do it again. The boy yesterday was dejected and didn't enjoy the privilege he was given that much. Which youngster was given the necessary 'confidence booster'?