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By Mrs. Debbie Selengut

A Guten Chodesh!

Hello My Dear Kallas!


A guten chodesh, and a “gezinta vinter”!

One of the suggestions that I often get from you, about upcoming topics, is “getting back into routine”, and it makes me smile because we have such a rich calendar, with so many ימים טובים, I feel like we could talk about getting back into routine every single month. So, we aren’t going to talk about this, besides for the fact that I don’t have any great ideas on how to do it, other than just doing it.

Children can teach us so much about ourselves, and often when I am working with a child on a problem or situation, a light bulb goes off in my head and I can clearly see the “adult” version of that problem or situation.

Recently, a student told me that she doesn’t like very many girls in her class, and has a very small circle of real friends. When I asked her why, she told me that most people are “annoying”.

“Annoying”, being a catch phrase for ‘unlikable’ to her, as she explained that most of them didn’t actually “annoy” her, they were just, well, …. “annoying”.

In trying to think of ways to help her expand her social world, and be more tolerant, and even positive towards others, I thought about how it would play out in our adult world, and a few thoughts came to mind about how to be gentler, more open and kinder in how we see others.

I think that the core of this mindset is the sincere desire to like, respect, and be helpful to others. In other words, I must commit to liking people. I know that sounds really simplistic, and some might have this as a natural extension of their personality, but some might not, and they have to develop this; a want to genuinely like others. I have to want to like people.  I have seen time and again that the children in the class with the most friends are the children that like the most people.

There is so much to be learned about creating positive relationships, and here is one thing I have learned.

One of the greatest ways to develop healthier, smoother relationships with anyone is by building up the other person’s sense of importance. When we make the other person seem less important, we frustrate one of his deepest yearnings. A person’s dignity, and feeling of self-respect is a basic human need.

Allow him to feel equality or superiority, and we can easily get along with him. But not in a fake, flattering, way. In a genuine way.

Years ago, I was frustrated about a school situation with one of my children, and felt that if the school would handle it in a specific way, (my way of course!) it would work out well. I was very frustrated and wrote a letter to the administrator in charge, outlining how the situation should be handled, (with a good dose of how I felt it was mishandled so far).

I (thankfully) showed the letter to my friend before I sent it. (Important: Everyone needs a smart friend who is not afraid to tell you when you are making a big mistake). After reading my letter, she explained that all she had heard in my letter was frustration, and advised me to rewrite it, asking the administrator for his ideas, based on his expertise, and suggesting what I really wanted as an option, not as a “must.”

Asking, “Do you think that this (the process that I wanted) might work?”

It worked 100%, better than I could have ever wished for.

If I had insisted on what I wanted, or worse yet, what he should do, it would have totally backfired.

Tapping into his expertise, approaching him with the importance and dignity that he deserved, allowed him to problem solve from a place of compassion and understanding, and not from pressure and defensiveness.

When I interact with someone, anyone, from my husband, my child, a coworker, a repairman, speaking to his or her greatness, dignity, and intrinsic importance will guide me and how I speak to them, and result in better relationships, and more friends!

Wishing you a wonderful month!







Mrs. Debbie Selengut