When my daughter was born [23 years ago] it occurred to me that I knew nothing about child rearing.  Sure, I had been a working person and supervisor for many years, but my expertise on children was limited.  Being the good educator that I was, I decided to do some research — a one year subscription to various parenting magazines. One of the juicy nuggets of wisdom frequently shared in these magazines:

“By the age of four, your child’s personality is formed. That’s who he or she is going to be FOREVER! Yikes!  Many intimidating thoughts such as this one jumped from the pages, but I continued to read month after month. A startling realization occurred to me at the end of my one-year subscription:

In reading these parenting magazines, I had learned more about how to handle my co-workers than I had about raising my daughter!!!


Next time you walk into the office, you will run into that challenging person – you know, the one whose voice sounds to you like that of the teacher in the Peanuts cartoons:  “Wah wah wah!”   When you hear that voice, don’t react or let this person predictably push your buttons.  Instead, just look at the person.  And, in your mind I’d like you to be thinking:


This was my big wake up call!  Who do I think I am that I can go to one seminar or read one book and then try to change this person?  How empowering for me to realize that this person has been this way for a very long time!  What a relief to decide that it was no longer in my job description to try to change or fix them!

When changing and fixing the other person is no longer the goal, this certainly sets the stage for positive communication.

-Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Sarita’s book

If You Can’t Say Something Nice, What DO You Say?

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