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Beyond Contempt: Growing Authentic Relationships that Value Each Other

Ep. 28_ Beyond Contempt_GRNCultivating respect and trust is fundamental to the mission of every school, but spending so much time together and knowing each other so deeply can produce a fragile environment.

Research and experience demonstrates that the more people learn about each other, the less they tend to like them. So how do we overcome this inclination, moving beyond contempt to thrive in our differences?

Educators Among Us Podcast: Episode 28 Beyond Contempt


When our people feel respected, supported, and valued, they are more likely to be motivated and productive. But we tend to be more judgmental of those we spend more time with and know at a deeper level. 

In their research entitled, “Less Is More: The Lure of Ambiguity, or Why Familiarity Breeds Contempt,” Dan Ariely and his colleagues found that although people believe that learning more about others leads to greater liking, more information about others actually produces less liking. 

That tendency undermines a school's value proposition of close community and interdependent relationships. With familiarity breeding such contempt, it's no wonder that relationships may become fragile in schools because spending so much time together usually reveals the deeper us.  

Contempt is a sense of superiority that leads to strong feelings of disgust and anger. Such disrespect is a toxic temptation that degrades trust and poisons relationships. It's an attitude that is rooted in arrogance and produces bitterness that can linger within the ecosystem of a school for many years.

We have to constantly check ourselves by maintaining habits that sustain trust and respect. Understanding rather than contempt is how we respond, together striding into the challenges instead of abandoning our virtues.

Courtesy and Manners communicate a graciousness and care that supports a healthy school culture.

Disciplined Communication is essential for building trust and improving engagement among faculty and families, minimizing secrets and surprises.

Listening to Feedback, both verbal and non-verbal, will enhance self-intelligence and enable more responsive personal adjustments. 

Move Beyond Contempt by thriving together through the tests of school life, encouraging each other to grow in authentic relationships that value those close by.


*In the Weekly Encouragement for Educators on this topic and the podcast episode, I referenced the song, "You've Got a Friend," and want to credit Carole King as the author rather than James Taylor. 

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