The Happiest Toddler in the Office

by Ross Gebhart

I am a husband and father of three kids. I’ve heard it said that being a parent is the fastest way to mature as an adult because it grows and stretches you in some really unique ways. I would definitely agree with that idea.

I spend a lot of time reading books on parenting so I can improve my fathering skills. I recently read a book called The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Dr Harvey Karp. While this book is focused on raising and communicating with a toddler, there are also some very practical lessons on communication that I think translate well to the adult world too.

One helpful practice is called the Fast Food Rule. When you order a meal from a fast food restaurant, the first thing the server usually does is repeat your order back to you. Similarly, when you can tell that someone is agitated or angry you should first let them express their feelings and THEN repeat those feelings back to them.

One of the challenges of having “crucial conversations” is that conflict can inflame our anger and passions and we close off our mind from hearing what the other person has to say. Allowing the empassioned person to express their feelings helps them to feel acknowledged which can open their heart and minds to continuing the conversation.

I love finding new wisdom and synergy in very diverse topics — like how talking to my toddler can actually help me improve my communication skills with coworkers in the adult world.

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