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Arouse in the other person an eager want

June 28th, 2008 / 3 Comments


This is our pet bunny Smokey.

When we tell her to come, she doesn’t come. When we tell her to jump, she doesn’t jump.

But when we dangle a carrot a front of her, she’ll go anywhere the carrot leads!

Dale Carnegie tells this story of of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

One day, Emerson and his son tried to get a calf into the barn. But they made the common mistake of thinking only of what they wanted; Emerson pushed and his son pulled. But he calf was doing just what they were doing; he was thinking only of what he wanted; so he stiffened his legs and stubbornly refused to leave the pasture.

The Irish housemaid saw their predicament. She couldn’t write essays or books; but, on this occasion at least, she had more horse sense, or calf sense, than Emerson had. She thought of what the calf wanted; so she put her maternal finger in the calf’s mouth and let the calf suck her finger as she gently led him into the barn.

Principle #2 of How To Win Friends and Influence People is “Arouse in the other person an eager want.”

According to Carnegie’s principle, next time instead of threatening and yelling at our children to do something, think about how we can get them to want to do it. What reward would motivate them?

No, we can’t reward kids for everything, every time we want them to do something. I understand that children sometimes have to do things simply because we tell them to.

Carnegie’s point is that we can’t expect people to do things just because we want them to. How can we expect that of our children? We have to let them see some benefit in it as well.

Our children often do not see the long term benefits of doing their homework or practicing piano. As a parent who are “wiser”, we have to create some short-term benefits to “arouse an eager want.”

A reward chart, granting extra privileges for a job well done, and giving lots of hugs and praises are ways that we “arouse an eager want.”

When will we ever learn that nagging, yelling, threatening, and criticizing will never arouse an eager want!

Read Principle #2 here.

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  1. I read the best book, and think you might like it too, Taylor Wilshire’s THE BOOK OF MOM. It’s the best thing out there for mom’s who could use a break, a good laugh and a way to heal the spirit.

  2. Anne: I’ll definitely look it up. Thanks.

  3. Lovely post.

    Kids will so often respond to encouragement and listen to soft voices.

    Hugs, hugs, hugs! Yes!


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