- You are not always right.
- There are at least five sides to every story.
- Consider their point of view.
- What can you learn from what they're saying?
- They're entitled to their own opinion. Just listen, don't speak. And certainly don't interrupt.
And most of all: Kindness is king.
I tell my students at the beginning of every year that it's their choices that define who they are. The speech goes something like this: "If you want people to think you're a nice person, you must CHOOSE to act nice. Say nice things. If you want people to think you're a hard worker, you must CHOOSE to work hard. If you want people to think you're helpful, you must CHOOSE to help them. If you want people to think you're a good listener, you must CHOOSE to listen. On the other hand, if you act mean, say mean things, people will think you're mean."
Pretty simple, right? Kids get it. I rarely have any problems, and if I do, I simply ask the student what other people might be able to decide about them based on their choices. Would they be able to say you're a good friend when you spread rumors? Would they be able to say you're nice when you're rolling your eyes at their shoes/shirt/hair style?
And so, I take my lesson from Bambi each and every day. "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
What about you? Do you have to mentally coach yourself the way I do? Do you believe your choices define who you are?