Heard this in an amazing speech recently. A man was struggling with his child’s habit of scribbling on the walls in his home.
When the man caught his son doing it the first time, he shouted and said, “Are you stupid or what? Don’t you ever do that again!”
Sure enough, two days later, the boy was back to scribbling on the walls.
Why? Because his pride didn’t let him give it up. Nobody likes to be intimidated, not even a little boy.
The next day, the father tried a different tactic. When he caught the kid drawing on the wall again, he called him near and said, “Sweetie, come here, don’t do that, you are big boy now.”
And the boy never did it again.
What we say matters. But how we say it matters more.