Thursday, December 05, 2013

i am the decisive element

In 2007, I began working as a substitute teacher in the Wichita Public Schools (USD 259), and on the first day of sub-training, a presenter presented this quotation from Haim G. Ginott, which I come back to often. Truth be told, I wish I didn't have to come back to it; I wish it were so ingrained in me that it were my default position, my natural mode in dealing with people, especially my children and my students.

“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, Between Teacher and Child: 
A Book for Parents and Teachers

In addition to Between Teacher and Child, Ginott has a number of helpful books, another of which is entitled Between Parent and Child. You can find out more about it here: This site which includes some links to videos of Haim and his wife, Alice, including appearances on the Merv Griffin show and the Phil Donahue show.

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