Serve Your Family the Breakfast of Champions

I recently read a summary describing a study in which two groups of people were given a series of sentences to unscramble. Each sentence started with five scrambled words, four of which would form a sentence. The fifth word was either a “cold word” (bold, rude, bother, disturb, intrude, impolitely, etc.) for “group 1” or a “warm word” (considerate, appreciate, patient, polite, courteous, etc.) for “group 2.” Thinking they had concluded the first part of a study about language, the subjects proceeded to the next room to take another part of the test. Unfortunately, they found the doorway blocked by two staff members having a long discussion. The only way to pass through the doorway was to interrupt the conversation. In the group of students who had read the “cold words” while unscrambling their sentences, over 60% interrupted the conversation. In the group of subjects who had read the “warm words,” less than 20% interrupted. The authors concluded that “priming” the subjects with “cold” or “warm” words led to these behavioral differences. Those subjects primed with words of “warmth” exhibited a greater tendency to not interrupt. The subjects primed with words of “warmth” tended to behave more patiently and in a more “pro-social” manner.
Let me ask you this question: Do you prime your family with warm words or cold words? When your family gets up in the morning, do they hear loving conversation or agitated conversation? Polite interactions or rude interactions? Does your family share words of encouragement or words of agitation in the morning? Whatever words your family hears will prime them for the rest of the morning…maybe even the day! Start your day with loving, warm, polite words–that is the breakfast of champions.

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