People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.
– Maya Angelou
The store where I most recently purchased a suit is going out of business. I did not find this surprising, given my experience purchasing a suit there. The purchase went well. The alterations were ok. It was ready to be picked up when they said it would be ready.
Then I arrived to pick it up.
They took my altered suit from the rack. Took it off the hanger and proceeded to stuff it into a small shopping bag that can hold no more than a single box of Corn Flakes.
No garment bag. No large (and wide) shopping bags that the dry cleaners use.
They didn’t even offer me the hanger. My brand new suit was being treated no differently than a bag of Doritos. It occurred to me at that moment how sometimes the small things can have a huge impact. It shouldn’t. We are taught not to let the small stuff bother us. Teaching is one thing, then comes the real life situation. And in this real life situation, this small detail disturbed me. Then a deeper thought entered my mind.
There was no issue with the suit, just their choice of packaging. The packaging was giving me a negative view towards the store, and even towards my purchase as a whole.
Then I connected the dots.
The suit is the message we give our kids.
The bag is how we package that message. How we deliver the message. It is the words we choose to use (or not use). It is the method we deliver the message (e.g. blunt vs. evasive, written word vs. spoken word, directly from us vs. from a third party).
Step one is making sure the correct message is given over.
Step two is just as important, making sure that the message is delivered properly.
An improperly delivered message will get disregarded by children, no matter how good the message is.
Each child has their own “delivery filter.” There are certain types of messages that their filter will allow, and they have others that their filter will reject.
The key is to find what can get through the filter, and even who can get through the filter.
The same message can have very different results depending on who is delivering it, how it is being delivered and when it is being delivered.
Yisroel Picker is a social worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice specializing in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.
You can email Yisroel at firstname.lastname@example.org
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