How do you make others feel?

“They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.”  -Carl W. Buehner

We are motivated by connectedness.

Case in point… recently a makeup counter clerk provided her cell phone number, encouraging me to contact her with questions about makeup application or to schedule a return visit. She engaged with me in a personal way that made me feel significant and as if she were truly invested in me. She later mentioned that the company gives sales associates cell phones for this purpose. That store knew that if I felt a personal connection to the person selling me makeup, I would be more likely to become a loyal customer, and they were right!!! This makeup salesperson became my “go to”.

Upon leaving the store, I realized that this sales strategy builds upon the principle behind the quote by Carl W. Buehner: “They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.” The same applies to parenting. All children have an instinctual need to feel connected to a safe and caring adult who invests in them. They need an adult, or set of adults, whom they consider to be their “person”.....their “go to” member, a family friend, or a foster/adoptive parent.

In the case of children who have experienced abuse and neglect, those early connections have brought hurt and fear rather than love, safety and security. Children of abuse either don’t have a “go to” person, or they have experienced that person to be demeaning, belittling, and hurtful (emotionally and/or physically). The individuals who provide care for children of abuse and neglect will be challenged to manage behaviors, re-teach or sometimes even teach basic interpersonal and coping skills, and support children in recognizing and understanding a vast array of emotions. In the midst of all of that, which sometimes causes feelings of ambiguity and tests the patience, foster parents must remember the magic ingredient. None of the great and wonderful things you say, none of the lessons you teach, none of the things you do (or don’t do) will leave a lasting impression as to how you made them feel!

Posted January 8, 2018 Written by: Sherry Gearheart
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