While teachers can have a lifelong effect on the way students think, psychologist Haim Ginott has focused on a more immediate aspect of impact: the creation of a positive or negative physical and emotional environment that can determine the quality of a child’s life.
“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion,” he said. “I am the decisive element in the classroom. My personal approach creates the climate. My daily mood makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. It is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or dehumanized.”
Yet as profound as this observation is for professional educators, it’s even more so for parents. A parent’s power to create the daily climate and lasting environment in which a child grows is so awesome it must be used consciously and responsibly.
Since our daily moods make the weather, we should try to shield our children from the thunder and lightning of our frustrations and anger. Instead of the dark clouds of cynicism, fear, and depression, we should discipline our own emotions and give them the light and warmth of love, hope, and good cheer. Conscious efforts to be positive, enthusiastic, and supportive can have a huge impact not only on the emotional well-being of our children, but on their ability to experience the joys and pains of childhood in healthy and constructive ways.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.