It helps me as I help others to remember this from Goethe
If you treat a man as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be. – Goethe
Many of the people I work with come from a checkered past. I too, come from a checkered past. Checkered with mistakes and failures, periods of poor judgment in actions or people. I’d like to think we, who go through such times, grow out of it, eventually.
If you treat a man as he is, he will remain how he is…
The growing out of such periods need a boost sometimes, from others. Folks who see in you a higher ceiling and treat you as if you’re already on that level of life. A glimpse of the promise or prospect in their eyes, in your spirit, and a small action towards the “as if” of who you can become.
But if you treat him as he were what he ought to be and could be…
I do my best to remember this quote along with a caveat of my own. Something important (for me, at least) to remember:
Be aware of the circumstance(s) of how the man became who he is today.
Remaining open and aware (aka diligent and vigilant) of the possibilities that surround the present situation AND raising the bar by showing kindness and respect to who they might become.