The Art of Improvement

If you are a parent or a person who works with children, you probably know of Haim Ginott. His book, Between Parent and Child, was published 40+ years ago and has never gone out of print. It’s a thing.
And even though I don’t have kids or work with them, I read Ginott’s work in college and find myself thinking of it often – usually when dealing with difficult adults. Honestly, it is weird how much seven-year-old girls and over-educated-and-ill-tempered-grown-ass men have in common. The thing is, this expression above seems to work. On everyone. Try it. For real: next time you find yourself in a rough patch with someone, find a way for them to secretly overhear you saying something nice about them. Then just wait and see what happens. I’m telling you, it works like a charm.

Do you have any special tricks for working with difficult people? I would love to hear.


  1. sam says

    I love this! Also, I like to remember, when dealing with my 2 very opinionated, stubborn, annoyingly smart (ass) kids, to take nothing personally. Its not about me, whatever they are going through, its about them. Easier not to get pulled into the drama. Its the same with adults-coworkers, parents, spouses. Also, wine seems to help.

  2. Anonymous says

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to
    be really something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post,
    I’ll try to get the hang of it!
    Also visit my blog post fotografowie

  3. Jl Baloch says

    I wonder if this ‘trick’ would work on a “princess” at work whom blames everyone for her own mistakes? Well I will give it a try. But thanks for a laugh when you compared young girls to certain men at the office. Love it!

  4. catbee says

    i’ve never tried it but one piece of advice i’ve heard (i think i read it on joanna goddard’s blog, was for fighting with your significant other.
    the advice was to imagine them as a child while you’re arguing that it immediately changes your disposition and even body language!

  5. Nicki Soller says

    Agreed. I’ve other favorites, along these lines, such as Leo Buscaglia’s words… but specifically for our children/grands and always present in our home on a plaque:


    Dorothy Law Nolte

    If a child lives with criticism,
    he learns to condemn.

    If a child lives with hostility,
    he learns to fight.

    If a child lives with fear,
    he learns to be apprehensive.

    If a child lives with pity,
    he learns to feel sorry for himself.

    If a child lives with ridicule,
    he learns to be shy.

    If a child lives with jealousy,
    he learns what envy is.

    If a child lives with shame,
    he learns to feel guilty.

    If a child lives with encouragement,
    he learns to be confident.

    If a child lives with tolerance,
    he learns to be patient.

    If a child lives with praise,
    he learns to be appreciative.

    If a child lives with acceptance,
    he learns to love.

    If a child lives with approval,
    he learns to like himself.

    If a child lives with recognition,
    he learns that it is good to have a goal.

    If a child lives with sharing,
    he learns about generosity.

    If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
    he learns what truth and justice are.

    If a child lives with security,
    he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.

    If a child lives with friendliness,
    he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

    If you live with serenity,
    your child will live with peace of mind.

    With what is your child living?

  6. says

    this is the absolute truth… can you imagine this world if everyone actually applied it daily ? thank you for the share.

  7. says

    Genius! Now to find a way for everyone at my work to hear me saying nice things about them… Haha 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *