Personal Communications: From Plato to Play-Doh

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you communicate more clearly.


             “Daddy, how do you get to be grown up,” my then  four-year old daughter ask me one day. I said: “Well, big girls are really smart. They read a lot.” “Daddy, I read the comics a lot,” she said.  I clarified: “You have to read more than comics. You have to read history and literature, you have to read Shakespeare, you have to read Socrates, and Plato.”

        “Oh…..,” she said. A few minutes later my daughter came prancing into the living room. “I’m grown up,” she claimed. “You are?” I wondered. “Yes, I can read Plato. See,” she said, reading from a can in her toy box:  “Play-Doh comes in three colors etc.’.

        Now I have heard of tuna in a can, soup in a can, but philosophers in a can?

        I smiled and realized my mistake, a mistake that forced me to think more about the tone of my words -the way my words sound to others especially given their frame of reference. How foolish of me to think that my daughter would hear the word  Plato and not link the sound of that word with a clay-like modeling compound material that she played every day with to make arts and craft projects –Play-Doh– than the student of Socrates.

   That conversation with my daughter taught me to be more cognizant that speech is like music. Indeed, we hear the melody long before the lyrics, the sound long before the words. Continue reading “Personal Communications: From Plato to Play-Doh”