|HAIM GINOT'S POEM INSPIRED THIS REWORKED VERSION, I HOPE HE WOULD APPROVE OF THE SENTIMENTS IN THIS REINTERPRETATION OF HIS SEMINAL POEM.|
A Pastoral Care Worker's Revelation: a la Haim Ginot's famous poem for teachers – to include the issue of psychotropic drugs for children in our society.
I've come to the empowering conclusion that I can be a decisive element in a child's life for their care, safety, stability and growth.
It's my Humanity, interest and warmth that creates the climate in my relationship with a child.
It's my daily mood and expectations that nurtures the likelihood of growth in a young being.
As a 'keyworker' I possess a tremendous ability to utilise the power of 'Pastoral Care' or 'Pastoral Scare,' for the benefit or not of a child.
I can be a tool of demotivation or a tool for personal development of the child.
I can collude with or ignore the drugging of children or take a lead in finding their individual 'rays of sunshine,' and 'challenging' practice I have ethical professional concerns about.
I can humiliate and pathologise or humour and help.
I can demonstrate the power of human kindness or disinterest, which is a lack of love.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a child feels normalised or pathologised.
Dave Traxson, 2011, Child Psychologist,U.K.
Haim G. Ginott (1922-1973) was a clinical psychologist, child therapist, parent educator, and author whose work has had a substantial impact on the way adults relate to children.
A Teacher’s Revelation
(THE ORIGINAL SEMINAL POEM)
“I’ve come to the frightening conclusion
that I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It’s my personal approach that creates the climate.
It’s my daily mood that 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.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether
a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated,
and a child humanized or dehumanized.”
He began his career as an elementary school teacher in Israel in 1947 before immigrating to the United States. There he attended Columbia University in New York City, earning a doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 1952.
Ginott’s work with troubled children at the Jacksonville, Florida, Guidance Clinic helped him refine his unique combination of compassion and boundary setting. While many of his contemporaries favored one or the other, Ginott wove the two into a seamless whole that showed respect for children’s feelings while setting limits on their behavior. Ginott said that he was strict with unacceptable behavior but permissive with feelings. His aim was to help parents socialize their children while simultaneously cultivating their emotional well being. Ginott’s books, Between Parent and Child, Between Parent and Teenager, and Teacher and Child, were popular for many years and were translated into thirty languages. Rather than accuse, cajole, or correct parents in his parenting groups, he shoed compassion for their struggle even as he encouraged them to listen with understanding and empathy to their children. His method for working with parents is described by Arthur R. Orgel (1980).
At the heart of Ginott’s method is the recognition that denying feelings makes them more intense and confused. By contrast, the acknowledgment of feelings allows people to heal and consequently become better problem solvers. For example, Ginott wrote of a twelve-year-old girl who was tense and tearful when her cousin left after spending the summer with her. Ginott recommended that parents acknowledge their children’s feelings in situations like this with responses such as “You miss her already” and “The house must seem kind of empty to you without Susie around.”
Ginott’s continuing impact is underscored in the influential book by John Gottman on raising emotionally intelligent children: “Ginott’s theories had never been proven using empirically sound, scientific methods. But . . . I can provide the first quantifiable evidence to suggest that Ginott’s ideas were essentially correct. Empathy not only matters; it is the foundation of effective parenting” (p. 35). Following Ginott’s example, Gottman encourages parents to be “emotion coaches” rather than being dismissive, disapproving, or laissez-faire.
While Ginott’s influence is evident in works by Gottman and also by his students Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, his greatest contribution and continuing legacy may be teaching the communication skills that help parents relate to their children in a caring and understanding way without diminishing parental authority.
Ginott, H. G. (1965). Between parent and child. New York: Macmillan.
Ginott, H. G. (1967). Between parent and teenager. New York: Macmillan.
Ginott, H. G. (1972). Teacher and child. New York: Macmillan.
Ginott, H. G., Ginott, A., & Goddard, H. W. (2003). Between parent and child. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Gottman, J. M. (1996). Raising an emotionally intelligent child. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Orgel, A. R. (1980). Haim Ginott’s approach to parent education. In M. J. Fine (Ed.), Handbook on parent education, 75-100. New York: Academic Press.
Source of this article:
Goddard, H. W., & Ginott, A. (2002). Haim Ginott. In N. J. Salkind (Ed.), Macmillan psychology reference series, Vol. 1: Child development (pp. 167-168). New York: Macmillan Reference.