Woman: You know all those flattened cardboard boxes behind the trash can?
Man: Uh huh.
Woman: Those are trash, too. I flatten the small boxes so then you can put them in another bigger box and take them out to the curb when you take out the garbage each week.
Woman: Because, you know, those boxes have been there for four weeks now.
Woman: And they are trash. I just don’t put them in the trash can because why put cardboard in a plastic garbage bag?
Woman: Are you listening to me?
Woman: Because sometimes I feel like no one listens to me.
Man: Yes…I was listening.
Woman: And when no one listens to me, I begin to feel powerless.
Woman: I start to feel…you know…like no one takes me seriously.
Man: I hear you.
Woman: I don’t feel respected.
Man: I’m listening.
Woman: What did I say?
Woman: Sigh. Okay, all those flattened cardboard boxes. See them?
Woman: All those cereal boxes and oatmeal boxes and granola bar boxes?
Woman: Those are trash.
Woman: So, when you take out the trash tonight, put them in a bigger box.
Woman: You know, like when you buy a case of beer and then there is the big empty box? Just fill that beer box with the smaller boxes, and then put it out by the curb, and I will feel happy.
Woman: So, you got it?
Woman: You are hearing what I am telling you? I still don’t feel as if I’m being heard. I feel frustrated when people don’t listen to what I’m saying.
Man: Yes, I am hearing what you are telling me.
Man: You told me to buy more beer.
Case Study 2: Haim Ginott Can Bite Me
8-year-old Child: I can’t find my shoes!
Child: Mommy! I SAID I can't FIND my SHOES!
Empathetic Mother: I hear how frustrated you are, Honey.
Child: WHERE ARE MY SHOES!
Mother: I don’t know. The rule is that our shoes should be in the shoe bin or in our bedrooms. If your shoes are not in your room or in the shoe bin, I don’t know where they are.
Child: I CAN NEVER FIND MY SHOES!
Mother: I hear how angry you are, Darling.
Child: I’M GOING TO MISS THE BUS!
Child: I SAID, I’M GOING TO MISS THE BUS!
Child: AHHHHHH! THE BUS JUST WENT BY! I MISSED THE BUS! I MISSED THE BUS!
Mother: Boy, I can really hear how upset you are, Sweetie.
Child: WHHHHAAAAHHH! sob! WHHHAAAAHHHH! sob! sob! WHHH--hhu!-huh-hu!-hu---Whhu!---hu-hu!--!
Mother: Okay, I hear you hyperventilating.
Mother: It’s okay. You’ll find your shoes and I will drive you to school.
Child: Buh--but--bu-but everyone--ry--whuh--hu--
Mother: You need to breath. “Everyone” what?
Child: Everyone will st--sttt-st-stare at mmm-huh!--h!-huh!--me. When I wwwww--wwwalk in the rrrr-rrroom….
Mother: I hear how worried you are. It will be okay. Just find your shoes, and I will drive you to school.
Child: Whhuh!..huh!..WWHHHHAAAAAA! WWWHHHAAAAAA! I MISSED THE BUS! I MISSED THE BUS!
Mother: Okay, you need to calm down.
Child: WWHHHHAAAAAA! WWWHHHAAAAAA
Mother: CALM DOWN! RIGHT NOW!
Mother: YOU need to GRAB a PIECE of PERSPECTIVE here!
Mother: We’re talking about a missed bus and a few of your friends looking at you as you walk into your classroom! You need to GET a GRIP!
Child: Snoof. Snurffle.
Mother: I mean, right now there are kids wandering around barefoot through sewage in the alleys of Kibera. Right now, some little girl in Iraq wishes she could go to school at all if it weren’t so dangerous to walk outside her house. Right now, there’s another little girl waiting in an emergency room about to get a shot or have stitches put in! And your big problem this morning is finding one of your five pairs of comfy shoes and then riding to school in a comfy seat while listening to your favorite music, and then walking into your warm, well-lit classroom without first having to scrape poop and dead rats off your feet or holding your backpack over your head to deflect shrapnel!
Mother: So, you know…chill out. Just a few degrees, okay?
Child: Okay, Mommy.
Mother: A little perspective, right?
Child: Right, Mommy.
Mother: Life is good.
Child: Life is good.
Mother: Good. Give me a hug and let’s find your shoes.
Child: Can I be just a little upset that my hair looks poofy in the front?
Mother: Of course, Dearest. Even people in Kibera have bad hair days.