Beauty Revealed: Bringing Out the Best in Others


         Exploring what it means to “bring out the best” in others was a collaborative endeavor that began in 2011 between colleague Carlos Hagedorn and I. Reflecting upon how much pain and neglect exists in the world, we believed that based on our experience as educators and our work in the community, we could offer some tools that could perhaps spare people the anguish of being treated in harmful ways.       We wrote separate articles about how we as human beings could draw out the best qualities in others.[1]   “Beauty Revealed” is my personal reflection on how to achieve this goal. The piece is intended for adults who are interested in: 1) having a positive impact on others, 2) building healthy, meaningful friendships while maintaining good boundaries, and/or 3) deepening bonds with those who mean the most to us.

I am speaking from the perspective of humanities professor with several years of experience teaching high school and college students. I am not speaking from the perspective of a licensed therapist or any other licensed mental health professional; therefore, this article does not cover points outlined by mental health professionals in a letter of informed consent.      It is not intended to be an academic paper, nor is it intended for use as a means of seducing others. This article is simply intended to be a personal reflection to add to the public discourse regarding how healthy, caring, and civil connections can be made and strengthened.

At the end of this article, you will find a short bibliography because throughout the writing process, I primarily drew from my years of experience working with others as a youth minister and camp counselor and, as mentioned earlier, working as a high school teacher and college professor. Through this experience, I have learned and fine-tuned my behavior in ways that allow me to bring forth the best qualities in other people. I do not profess to be an expert. Instead, I view myself as someone who is in the process of cultivating the very skills that I outline in this article; if I perfect these skills by the time I am 100 years old, I will be very happy.

Secondly, I have drawn from the modeling of others—family, friends, acquaintances, and mentors—who have had a profound impact on my emotional and spiritual well-being. You will find the names of these individuals at the end of this article in a list I call the “Human-Bibliography.” One of the main reasons I am capable of writing a piece like this is attributed to the many loving people who have entered my life and brought out the best in me. Citing the lives of real, living human beings and the direct influence they have had on my life seems more relevant, applicable, and compelling since the subject matter involves the real ways we can have a positive and fruitful impact on one another.

The thoughts shared in this reflection are offered as suggestions. As with “A Perfect Ordinary Day,” you have the freedom to accept, trash, rework, and/or augment these suggestions. Some of what you read may confirm what you already practice. Other ideas may challenge your current lifestyle. You may discover that you have something to add to my recommendations. Whatever the case, I invite you to sit with your response to my article, examine other texts, reflect on your own personal experience, and use your best judgment when deciding what is the most effective means of “bringing out the best” in others.


         Imagine walking through the world and finding that everything you pass, everything you touch comes to life—wilting plants gradually stand tall; the sick become healthy and full of vitality; weeping children begin to play and laugh; an elderly couple with dulled senses experience the world in all its splendor; abused animals jump and play and resume being partners with humans on Earth; old, abandoned buildings become brand new.   In each case, the person, the being, the thing responds to the rejuvenating spirit that lies within you. Consequently, they heal and grow. It’s not so much that you plant something new within the living being. The beautiful gifts that already lie within that being are simply recognized, affirmed, and nurtured by you, thereby allowing the person or object the freedom to flourish on their own. The gifts that lie within them are awakened by your presence.

Indeed, “bringing out the best” in others is not as easy as simply walking past people and immediately seeing them come alive. “Bringing out the best” requires the cultivation of a set of qualities and skills.   In this endeavor, you may notice the other person experience gradual change, perhaps filled with extreme self-doubt and many mistakes along the way, or you may see quick, continuous, and unwavering transformation. No matter the case, the cumulative effect we will witness will be positive, healthy, and exciting.

        So, what does “bringing out the best” in a person mean? Part of it means taking what is dead and bringing it to life. By nature, anything that is alive has the potential to change and grow. When a person’s ability to grow is hampered, they are stagnant and see themselves withering away to the point where they feel as though there is no reason to live.

When a person grows, she feels exhilarated and begins to blossom for all to see. Growth begins with a seed: a belief that one is capable of anything. From there, her potential has no bounds. She becomes hopeful and open to the world’s possibilities. She decides to learn and take risks all for the purpose of becoming more capable of engaging with the world in healthy, open, and powerful ways. The person accepts the death of old, unproductive prisons of ideas and practices, and embraces a transformation that brings joy and generates life. Essentially, the person’s spirit is liberated.

Secondly, “bringing out the best” in someone means accepting and affirming a person for all that he is in the present. This calms an anxious spirit that has been long crippled by criticism and hatred—a criticism and hatred that he may or may not be aware of. Since he is not being tugged or strangled by your will, that person can breathe; the person can freely choose what he will transform into and how he will transform. When this happens, the person feels like he can be himself—his most authentic self.     Self-integrity isn’t compromised. And once again, he realizes anything is possible and discovers that he is far more capable of accomplishing the extraordinary than he originally thought.

Clarity of Spirit

         If we are committed to “bringing out the best” in all those we encounter, we must first be committed to loving ourselves and steadying our spirits, having a clear sight of who we are in the world. We must possess the conviction that we deserve our freedom, we deserve to be treated justly, and deserve to be loved. We must be committed to caring for ourselves spiritually and physically, and in doing so, make the conscious decision to live.   This love and clarity of spirit radiates from us. No one can deny its presence. No one can deny its power. It creates a stir within another human being that inspires that person’s best qualities to overflow without warning.

When we love ourselves, stay in tune with our values, and constantly feed our spirits in the name of self-care, we can experience an abundance of joy and become better capable of sharing ourselves with others. As we take care of ourselves, we find that we can’t help but listen and sit with a person and explore their thoughts, feelings, needs, longings, worries, and dreams. Hearts are mended by the love that emanates from us.

Human dignity is affirmed when a heart is mended, and the best aspects of one’s humanity are drawn out. When we successfully affirm the spirit of another, the person may exhibit many of the qualities below:






emotional balance




ability to take risks[2]

genuine value of self

genuine value of the gifts/skills of others

desire to create

commitment to living

commitment to loving, healthy relationships

commitment to having a beneficial impact on one’s environment[3]


Being Present

         Being present is the foundation for intimacy. In order to be fully present to another, it is important to slow down our pace to give patience room to breathe and develop. Patience enables us to be present to ourselves and to others.   When we are patient, we become more open to opportunities for relationship-building and consequently emotional intimacy. Patience is also the building block for other qualities such as persistence, endurance, diligence, and commitment—all of these being various manifestations of “being present.” If we do not cultivate a healthy environment for patience to grow in, it can be difficult for these other qualities to develop. If our spirit isn’t steady and our pace, our vibration is too fast, we inhibit the flow of patience and therefore prevent ourselves from being fully present to ourselves and to one another.

Being present to each other doesn’t just mean being physically present; however, it can most certainly begin here. The question becomes, “How much of my inner self do I share with the other when I am physically present?” In other words, “How can I become emotionally present?”

To be present in the moment is to be attentive to that moment and all that the moment brings. When we welcome the present moment and its gifts with our complete attention and spirit, emotional intimacy is fed. Our full attention must be offered to the other person during that moment to allow her to feel like she means something to you—to feel like she is valued by you.

There are many things that can potentially interfere with the ability to be present. Below are some examples:

  1. Daydreaming: Daydreaming about being with someone else or being somewhere else is not conducive to being in the moment. If your thoughts are frequently fixated on another person or place, this could be an indication of where your true values lie. Therefore, this may be worthy of further self-examination and reflection to know if you need to take a specific course of action and change your commitments.
  1. Mechanical devices: Turn off the television. Put the Ipod and Ipad away. Phones need to disappear. Make a commitment to the real human being you are with and choose not to answer the phone or respond to the text. If the phone rings or if a text comes in, don’t be a slave to the device. Answer the phone or respond to the text
  1. Multitasking: Many of us lead extremely busy and demanding lives that may require us to multitask. Just be careful. Constantly assess your priorities and who/what might be competing for your attention.   Try to limit or stop multitasking. Even helpful time management tools can have their limits. Some brag about their ability to multitask and in the process fail to recognize how many times they have missed an exit on a freeway or missed an opportunity to affirm their child because their attention was not focused on one thing at a time.
  1. Internet usage: One of the many strengths of the Internet is its potential for relationship-building amongst strangers, relatives, and friends. Some, due to circumstances beyond their control, cannot be physically present with another and consequently develop the skill of being emotionally present through email, phone calls, Facebook, etc. Others invest time in developing a strong web presence for business or personal reasons by using some of these tools. If surfing the web, blogging, being on Facebook, or other means of strengthening your web presence compromises your ability to be present to the real human beings in your midst, then it may be necessary to limit your Internet usage.

Once you have limited or eliminated some of these distractions and are fully attentive, stay with the person. Staying with a person means not being afraid of the potential for closeness. Allow yourself to be known, but also allow yourself to listen to the person. What is he sharing with you? Does this information give you a sense of what he values in life? Observe the person’s facial expressions and body language; scrutinizing the individual or commenting on his every move is unnecessary and may make the person uneasy. Notice the person just enough so that he feels seen and not invisible. The most alienating feeling in the world is feeling invisible—as if humanity could care less whether you live or die. To prevent our fellow sisters and brothers from feeling such isolation, share three simple gifts: your presence, your willingness to listen, and your ability to notice the fullness of beauty of the person before you.


Space and Trust

         Giving a person space to breathe also “brings out the best” in others.   Intimacy is not synonymous with smothering. We can give a person space in a variety of ways. We can give a person physical space—for instance, when you are in his presence, you may keep a comfortable distance between the two of you.   This distance may depend on the rapport you have with the person or it may depend on what is appropriate within a given cultural context. Giving space allows freedom for growth—his own personal growth, as well as a growth or a strengthening of the emotional intimacy between you and the other individual.

Space can be given during a conversation as well. As mentioned earlier, listening is an important gift to offer another. Listen to the person’s ideas and demonstrate a genuine interest in what the person is sharing. Listen intently for the values that surface and reflect back what you’ve heard the person share (i.e. “It sounds like you really like _______.”) Try not to interrupt.   Just wait and listen. Give her story room to wander and be fully expressed. Sit with her and hold her words; don’t just let her words slip past you unnoticed. If you are excited about or fascinated with what she has shared or with her way of being, let her know. This can be accomplished by asking questions, sharing a related experience, commenting on how her words reveal a quality about her that you never noticed before, or explicitly saying that she has excited/fascinated/enlightened you with this new information. (i.e. “Wow, I never thought of that before.”) Not only can this respect be detected in the words you use, but it can also be detected in the genuineness in your eyes and tone.

When there is space, the conversation has the potential to become a dance—a graceful exchange of ideas and feelings that freely build upon each other. Not competitive or combative. No jousting or using words like ammunition. Just a carefree, fluid dance; both of you will find yourself uplifted by the experience. Trust the direction, the pace, the detour the person takes you in; this demonstrates that you are not trying to control him, but instead this trust allows you to enter his world where your vulnerability is guided by his and vice versa. Have a mutual trust in each other’s perspective. And as you enter his world, he enters yours and both of you can enjoy the grace and fluidity of the dance. Through the conversation and being emotionally present to each other, the two of you become willing to take the exchange in an unknown winding direction, exploring the outcome together, indefinitely.

Remember: if you’ve enjoyed the blessing of being listened to, please don’t forget to be a good listener, too—ask the other person about his experience, feelings, thoughts. Be the good listener that he was for you. You don’t want your listener to feel invisible.

Throughout the conversation—the dance—make a commitment to keeping the content of the conversation confidential. This helps a person feel safe with you. Don’t let what she has shared turn into gossip in the streets! There is a reason why the person trusted you with her story; don’t toy with that trust.     Recognizing the sacredness of the other and all that she shares is essential. We have the power to either hold or shatter a person’s spirit.   So, it is imperative to be careful with each others’ spirits.

It is important to note that there is a history of people and institutions abusing confidentiality—individuals encouraging or coercing others to keep unjust, dishonest, abusive, oppressive acts confidential because 1) they don’t want to experience the consequences of their actions, 2) they are afraid that disclosure of the information will cause a mass frenzy, 3) they don’t want to lose the benefits that come with keeping the information quiet, or 4) they fear for their lives.   The only problem is that confidentiality under such circumstances can cause injustice to fester.   Injustice likes to disguise itself as innocuous and benevolent; this is one of the many ways it survives and gathers strength and momentum. The best way to deplete injustice of its power is by exposing it and calling it out! One example that prevents the festering of injustice is the role of mandated reporters of child abuse. At the same time, exercise caution.[4] If you suspect the individual is in physical or emotional danger (and may harm themselves or others), encourage the individual to seek the help of a therapist, a suicide hotline, domestic violence shelters, law enforcement etc. Don’t try to be a hero and don’t try to carry their burden. Under such circumstances, you may also want to seek the advice of a professional to learn the safest and most effective way you can be of help to that individual. For further clarification regarding confidentiality and its limits, please refer to the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.[5]



         Honor and respect a person’s freedom. The biggest mistake you can make when you meet someone special is to try to possess her forever; all your hopes and dreams are emptied into that single person, often without her consent. Truly the greatest gift one can give a person is the freedom to breathe and the freedom to come and go. Giving a person the mental and physical space away from you (so she is not suffocated by you) helps her to nurture her own needs and desires. As a result, she can be more fully present when the two of you are reunited. It is a manifestation of your love for the individual: that you are secure enough in the friendship and what you have to offer to the friendship; seeing them explore the world without you does not pose a threat.   Trying to seize the person and have them all to yourself actually produces the opposite effect: she won’t want to be around you at all. Who wants to be around someone who wraps them up in chains?! And besides, why would you want to wrap someone in chains? Pressuring someone to vow her undying allegiance to you (lest you call them a traitor) is not conducive to relationship-building.   You don’t have an everlasting hold on anyone. Jealously is not proof that you love a person. Attempting to guilt someone into being with you is suffocating. A person should never feel obligated to be in your presence. She should always be able to breathe, so she can live.

“Bringing out the best” in others should not be used as a means of controlling others. The “recipient” should always have the freedom to accept or reject your support, input, influence, or presence.[6] It is important to acknowledge that the “recipient” has the freedom to not share anything with you. Letting a person know that you support him (and will not berate him) no matter what decision he makes can also give him the freedom to be more open in your presence. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with him all the time; sometimes you may have to challenge the person to consider an alternative perspective. Nonetheless, it is still helpful for the “recipient” to know that you will always be a safety net—someone who is there to support him when he take risks; someone who doesn’t want him to fall, but will be there to catch him just in case. You need to remind yourself and the “recipient” that he can survive without you. People are free, independent, intelligent human beings who can only grow if their agency is respected.

A desire to control others usually involves some type of fear: fear of being alone; fear that you can’t protect your loved ones from harm; fear of how you or the family will be perceived by others; fear that the “recipient” will miss something because he is too slow or too fast; fear that the “recipient” will make the wrong decision. Fear often isn’t openly expressed in the form of a statement like, “I am afraid.” Sometimes it is expressed as anger or sarcasm, or sometimes as silence and isolation. It may also be evident in a person’s unwillingness to take risks, and subsequently attempt to project his fears and reservations on others.   No matter what form it takes, fear creates massive static in a relationship and interferes with the process of “bringing out the best” in others. Letting go of fears frees up your mind and heart; it gives you a clearer sight of others so you can care for them in ways that allow them to flourish.


Bringing Out the Best—A Dialectic

         In the earlier section on space, I spoke of conversation having great potential for becoming a graceful exchange of ideas and feelings—a dance that uplifts the spirits of both people. When dancing, the couple must remain in tune with each other’s bodies. When two people interact, both must remain in tune with the comfort level of the other in order for the process to be mutually enriching. The analogy of the dance best captures the nature of all attempts to “bring out the best” in another because of its capacity to create a dialectical relationship. The act of “bringing out the best” in a person can have a transformative impact on both the “recipient” and the “giver,” and over time can become unconscious and seamless.[7]

In order for the dance to continue, the “recipient” and the “giver” must remain committed to four guidelines related to trust and control:

  1. It is important the “giver” does not expect anything in return. Acts that attempt to “bring out the best” in others (consciously or unconsciously) should not operate on a patronage system where favors are exchanged like bargaining chips. For the “giver,” the act of giving should be a gift in and of itself because one is practicing the art of being fully human.
  1. “Bringing out the best” in others has the potential to inspire the “recipient” to give back to you or to others—not out of obligation, but out of joy and genuine desire. When sharing ourselves, the cycle of receiving and giving has no end. This is also a humble reminder to the “giver” that one should not function as a savior with a Messiah complex; as you are “bringing out the best” in someone (consciously or unconsciously), the other can also be “bringing out the best” in you.
  1. Sometimes when a person has grown accustomed to isolation, neglect, and/or mistreatment, the presence of someone who pays attention to the “recipient” can feel extremely powerful and perhaps overwhelming. Some “recipients” may react by pushing you away, while others may become so attached to you that it may cause you to become uncomfortable (i.e. the “recipient” falls in love with you). It is also possible that you may become overwhelming attached to the “recipient” to the point where you may fall in love with her/him.[8] Under such circumstances, it is important to be clear and honest about your intentions and set necessary boundaries. Use your best judgment in deciding whether this may be: a) a reason to limit your time in each other’s presence,    b) an opportunity for you to gently refer the “recipient” to a mental health professional, c) explore other options that would ensure the physical and emotional well-being of both you and the “recipient.”
  1. “Recipients” must graciously receive and be mindful of the amount of heart infused into the action or compliment that has been shared and show gratitude for that gift. As I learned from Evangeline Canonizado Buell, author and community activist in the San Francisco Bay area, “Receiving is also a virtue.” For those who have difficulty receiving, saying yes to generosity is a revolutionary act.



         Tenderness is a beautiful manifestation of one’s emotional center. It is the core of ourselves that loves what’s within and knows that that core is intrinsically connected to all within the universe.   This inner core is open to being emotionally moved by everything in the universe. It is a touch or a phrase that says, “I see you. I know you exist. You are a gift.”   When it is genuine and appropriate, expressions of tenderness can be deeply profound.

Tenderness can be found in so many places. It can be found in the soft kisses on the cheek, the temple, the forehead, the lips. It is found when a person embraces another and gently takes in the scent of the beloved. It can be found when the noses or foreheads of two people touch. Tenderness lies in warm hugs and gentle strokes of the back. It is present when you cradle someone in your arms and the person feels like they can surrender. It’s quick. It’s slow. It can be chaste. It can be romantic. It can be sensual. There are infinite ways of expressing tenderness. Whatever form it takes, being tender has the potential to bring out joy, reaffirm a connection, and/or seal a relationship.   Most of all, tenderness helps a person feel loved.



         The wisest people are the ones who have no qualms about publicly admitting when they don’t know. The wise women and men I have encountered don’t stop at this public admission; they go on to either demonstrate that they are willing to learn and/or thank a person for teaching them something new. This is the epitome of intellectual and spiritual integrity.

Don’t try to be a guru. Nobody likes a pompous guru; well, some might if they are addicted to a sycophantic lifestyle. But, usually it’s a turn off.   Arrogance is the best way to have someone shut the door on you emotionally. Arrogance is a prime indicator of a hidden insecurity. Living your life under the pretense of a know-it-all attitude and then having the public discover exactly how ignorant you are can be quite embarrassing.   Being honest about what you know and honest about the limitations of your knowledge leaves an open gap for you to explore meaning with others.

Some also mistakenly confuse humility with self-deprecation. Some may attempt to downplay their strengths because they genuinely fear being viewed as arrogant, while others pretend to be modest in order to mask their true self-absorption. Two of the best reflections that effectively counter such distorted views/practices of humility—reflections that I carry with me to this day—are offered below:

  1. An old friend of mine, Glenn Noronha once told me something to the effect of the following: “When you downplay your effect on others, this is not humility; this is just as egotistical as someone who brags about their impact on others. Being humble is about being completely honest about the ways you impact others’ lives.”
  1. When my former spiritual director, Sr. Gloria Loya, P.B.V.M. noticed how often I rejected the compliments she gave me, she stopped and said, “Okay, here’s your homework. For every negative thought about yourself that enters your head, I want you to come up with 10 positive things about yourself. And remember, for every time you dismiss a compliment that someone gives you, you are denying the real impact you had on them. Essentially, you’re telling them that their words and their feelings about you mean nothing.”



         There is nothing like handing a plate of food to someone and witnessing the brightness of their smile. Cooking food for family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers is another reminder that a person is loved and cared for. When you are cooking, it is important to realize that you have the power to infuse love into your food.   This can be your love of cooking, love for the people you are cooking for, love for the food itself, and/or love of the ancestors who passed down the recipe to you—those ancestors you know and those ancestors you don’t know. The beauty lies in how the “recipient” can taste that love.



         The first time a friend surprised me with my favorite candy bar, it brought me to tears. I couldn’t even remember telling her what my favorite candy bar was. The beauty of the experience was that she paid attention to something I shared in conversation and acted on it—buying that candy bar for me just because. We can learn about one another’s favorites by explicitly asking, listening to what they happen to share in conversation, or by observing what they consistently gravitate toward in a particular setting (i.e. in a store, in nature, etc.) A person could have a favorite ice cream, food, wine, coffee, flower, animal, song, color, quote, book, actor, sport, movie, scientist, or philosopher. Who knows? Find out and see what happens.     Demonstrating that you pay attention to the favorites of another has a way of brightening a person’s day, as well as their spirit. It shows that you have allowed your world to be affected by theirs.


Everyday Tips

         From maintaining a clear spirit and being fully present to the importance of humility and tenderness, we have explored a full range of approaches to “bringing out the best” in all people we come in contact with. Other quick but essential hints that should also be integrated into our daily endeavor to “bring out the best” in others are listed below:

  1. Celebrating Accomplishments: Celebrate in each other’s accomplishments. Don’t be jealous. Don’t tell them they were just lucky. Don’t be distracted by your own self-pity and start talking about how you wish good things happened to you. Rejoice in the good things that happen in the lives of others.
  1. Showing Gratitude: Express your gratitude in every way possible. This demonstrates that you acknowledge the precious impact others have on your life. Say thank you for everything.   You can say thank you face-to-face, via email, Facebook message, text, or a thank you card. If someone touched your heart—stranger, friend, lover, acquaintance—take the time to let them know how much they mean to you. Life is too short.
  1. Acknowledging Names: Know and remember a person’s name. Watch a person’s body language when you address them by name: their face lights up and their body straightens up or relaxes. They’ve been acknowledged. It gives the impression that the person is important to you—so important that you remembered their name.
  1. Achieving Justice: A quick and simple formula for justice is the following:


This formula is inspired partly by my teaching experience and partly by an article entitled, “Forgiveness: The Last Step,” by Marie Fortune who discusses the essential elements for justice within the context of abuse.[9] If you harmed someone intentionally or inadvertently, it is not enough to feel bad about it in the privacy of your bedroom or office. Own your mistakes, your shortcomings, your failures, and redeem yourself using the formula above. And remember, the “recipient” has the freedom to accept or reject your apology (or any other attempts to be redeemed or forgiven). When justice isn’t achieved, this can yield skepticism, distrust, and hyper-vigilance amongst the victims. Justice is served by honest communication. Honest communication breeds trust and facilitates the process of “bringing out the best” qualities in others.



         Being human is commonly equated with vices and the failings of humanity (i.e. mistakes, hatred, and oppression). Rarely is humanity described in terms of its inherent goodness. Being open to sharing and receiving that goodness is part of what it means to choose to live and be fully human. Choosing to live and maintaining a clear spirit transforms us into that person who simply walks by and brings all things to life. We see the full range of possibilities for drawing out the best in the world: from knowing a friend’s favorite ice cream to remembering a student’s name; from telling the bus driver thank you to being a good listener to a coworker; from giving your wife a warm embrace to taking the time to hand a stranger some tissue. Through these simple acts and more, we are choosing to live, thereby allowing others to live.   When we choose to live, our inner beauty emanates from us; this becomes contagious and inspires the beauty that already exists in others to grow and blossom. When this great dance takes place, we have not only reached the height of our human potential, but we have also strengthened the umbilical cord to our collective human core—that life-generating source which is good, wholesome, nurturing, and compassionate.




Adams, Carol J. and Fortune, Marie M., Violence Against Women and Children—A Christian Theological Sourcebook. New York: Continuum Books, 1995.


Bandura, Albert. Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1997.


Bandura, Albert. “Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change.” Psychological Review, 84, no. 2 (1977): 191-215.


“Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training California—Who Should Report.” California Department of Social Services. Accessed July 16, 2012.

“Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.” American Psychological Association. Accessed June 28, 2012.


“Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect: Summary of State Laws.” Child Welfare Information Gateway. Accessed July 16, 2012.





Gerardo Aldana

Anida Yoeu Ali

Fr. Patrick Baraza

Edward Beanes

Lisa Bonta-Sumii

Bill Buell

Evangeline Canonizado Buell

Scott Caballero

Emerita Caballero

Ken Cerreta

Gigi Leung Chow

Janet Cobb

Willie Cobb

James Cones

Cesar Cruz

Lisa Directo-Davis

Jeff Duncan-Andrade

Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé

Diana Ernyei

Fr. Eddie Fernandez

Sharon Gocke

Carlos Hagedorn

Andrew Jolivette

Robert Karimi

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan

Lu Le

Edwin Lozada

Sr. Gloria Loya

Sr. Eva Lumas

Wade Nobles

Glenn Noronha

Mel Orpilla

Fr. Kenan Osborne

Fr. Patrick Philbin

François Pincemin

Alison Rodriguez

Ch’aska Rojas-Böttger

Fermon Stickmon

Lucrecia Mendoza Stickmon

Diana Shepardson

Tom Shepardson

Charles Stickmon

Shawn Taylor

Chief Luisah Teish

Eileene Tejada

Shin Yi Tsai

William Weddington

Dolores Weidemann

Gwen Wilson

Ra’Karma Young

[1]Both articles can be found at

[2] Albert Bandura, “Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change,” Psychological Review, 84, no. 2 (1977): 191-215,

[3] Albert Bandura, Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control (New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1997), 2-3.

[4] It is important to first determine if you are a mandated reporter. For a complete list of mandated reporters and related information, please see the websites for the California Department of Social Services and The Child Welfare and Information Gateway under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If you are, then legally you are obligated to report the incident to the appropriate authorities and cannot keep that information confidential. If you are not a mandated reporter, please be aware of possible consequences of reporting the incident. For example, the person (“recipient”) may deem you untrustworthy and never speak to you again or may claim you misunderstood them. There can be a host of other possibilities; just make sure you understand the consequences of reporting versus not reporting the incident. If you have questions, seek the assistance of a mental health professional or other appropriate authorities.

[5] “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct,” American Psychological Association, accessed June 28, 2012,

[6] The “recipient” is the person who benefits from your attempts to “bring out the best” in her/him.

[7] The “giver” is the person attempting to “bring out the best” in the “recipient.”

[8] For more information, research attachment theory, transference, and countertransference.

[9] Carol J. Adams and Marie M. Fortune, Violence Against Women and Children—A Christian Theological Sourcebook (New York: Continuum Books, 1995), 201-206.

Copyright 2012 Janet Stickmon

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