18 Jul

The Decisive Element

When I learned of Haim Ginott’s work while studying Developmental Psychology, my heart was changed – my perspective on childhood, human relationships, and the possibilities of family life transformed forever. His words filled me with hope, beauty, and a sense of rightness I can’t quite explain in words, only feel them and hope others feel them too.

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

― Haim G. Ginott, Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers

I am grateful for the people who have treated me as I ought to be and have helped me become who I am today. Their behavior towards me and their vision of who I truly was under all the mess I presented to the world showed me the path I could choose to walk. I am living proof that empathy, connection, respect, and listening work. They saved my life and can bless and save the lives of those in your keeping as well.

Note: How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is based on the work of Haim Ginott. Along with Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, H. Wallace Goddard is another of Haim’s students who has done much to spread the influence of Dr. Ginott.

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