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A few years ago, [ profile] pinkrhino recommended the communication book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. At the time, I borrowed it from the library, skimmed it, noted some of the principles, and then promptly forgot about it.

But rereading it (this time I started to doggy-ear pages, and I suspect next time through I'll be highlighting things, though I worry I'll highlight EVERYTHING), I'm struck by how, if you actually apply the language and thinking in the book to everything else in your life, life ends up much smoother and clearer.

The book's strength comes through in little truisms -- noticing how very little we praise others for the small things, for example, when ordinarily we would just take it for granted... and how that changes our own outlook. Or how we should probably praise through description rather than using blanket words like "great!" This morning, I said to Neil: "Wow, the kitchen sink is so clean, and the counters are perfect. It made me feel happier and more refreshed to see it." With that praise in mind, after he reheated pasta for breakfast, I was much happier to do my own part cleaning the sink, when normally I would leave it to Neil (since he's de-facto taken over kitchen duties). I suspect that because both of us have noticed the positive reinforcement, we'll have a kitchen sink from here on out.

The book also notes things like how often we say "No" rather than "The problem is..." because we think that the latter takes more time. Neil asked me today whether I wanted him to meet me after work -- I have a 6 o'clock client, and she's new. Normally, for a new client, where I know I'm going to be slightly frazzled, I'd tell him "No." But he clearly wanted to see me, and I wanted to see him, so instead I said: "I think that would be nice, but the problem is that I tend to run over time with new clients, because I spend ten minutes talking to them first and also because I seem to be just running longer and slightly slower cleaning up lately. So you might be sitting around waiting longer than usual." He said, "Well, I'll meet you at 7:30, then, and stay a little longer finishing up all the work I'm behind on." Ultimately, it was a small thing -- but now we're both happier, having had the door opened to creative problem solving, rather than both of us being slightly unhappier (because normally I would have said "don't bother," and then been cranky I didn't get to see him.) I am noticing that "No" tends to mean I sabotage myself.

Then the book addresses things like "giving choices" instead of forcing an option. How to Talk says to give children choices so that they feel more in control of their surroundings and what they have to do -- like, saying "would you prefer the red pants or the grey ones?" works much better than "put on some pants!" But the thing is, the applications are broader than that -- being given choices allows you not to be overwhelmed by options. Sometimes Neil asks, "What would you like for dinner?" I often have no idea, because I tend to get wrapped up in whatever I'm doing and it takes me a minute to shift gears. Then he gives me the whole gamut of eating choices -- and when your choices include going out or ordering in, in New York, this is a large range. 3 choices -- this is about all most people can handle at once.

So in general, I'm noting that if I stick to giving choices, to phrasing things in a more open-minded way, and praising through description... life is more easily brainstormed, more readily handled, and positive. I'm going to try to conscientiously try to force myself to speak like that.


(Tangentially, btw, [ profile] pinkrhino's letter arrived in the mail this morning, and it never ceases to amaze me how physical notes in the mail are better than email or LJ any day (especially when they're arriving from Korea!))


Feb. 2nd, 2006 08:16 am
kimberkit: (Default)
Catchup post! I feel really busy with random hunting-for-job stuff, but I did get a chance to see the lovely Miss Tsykalova ([ profile] pinkrhino) at Jean George's restaurant Vong, for lunch. The place is so completely beautifully manicured that I felt a little self conscious for a moment, but they're so gracious and the food is so tasty that it's easy to forget that.

Restaurant Week rocks -- and I'm due to play with [ profile] sir_graeme tomorrow, for dinner at Compass, which is conveniently located like 3 blocks from me, and which was knock-your-socks-off delicious last time I was there.

I gave up on trying to do Kaplan training -- not that it's not a nice company, and I know I like the kids, but the sense of despair I got over doing presentations wasn't worth it.

The other day, there was some clean, gorgeous fog that made me pretty happy:

Morning walk

Emerging into the day
kimberkit: (Default)
anna asked me what i wanted for my bday on thursday. I said, "moving help!" and she said no, alas. So I asked for a lampshade, or extra bed linens for my double bed (foam pads are nice), or a light fixture...

... and she's totally right in pointing out how completely boring those presents are :)
kimberkit: (Default)
One tiny dent on mom's car, and it's going to be $1300 -- which means I definitely need to get a summer job, balancing classes and summer training for Balanced Literacy to go with it. And, alas, textbooks for my new Education courses (the old ones just ended, and the new ones start next week) are also ridiculously expensive. $70 a pop.

On the bright side, school is winding down. And I get to see [ profile] kizlj this weekend, and her friend Carlos and I might get together.


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