The First Five Minutes

There's a book that was published many years ago based on a very simple little principle that I never forgot.

Its thesis was that the first five minutes occurring between people sets the tone for everything that's to follow.

For example, a public speaker is given very few moments to convince his audience that he really does have something worthwhile to say. If he's boring or stilted in the beginning, his listeners will turn him off like a lightbulb and he'll never know why. And if he hopes to use humor during his speech, he'd better say something funny very quickly or his audience won't believe he can make them laugh. The opportunity of the moment is just lost. Closer to home, the first five minutes of the morning determines how a mother will interact with her children on that day. A snarl or a complaint as the kids gather for breakfast will sour their relationship for hours. And at the end of the day when a man arrives home from work, the way he greets his wife, or doesn't greet his wife, will influence their interaction throughout the evening. A single criticism such as "Not tuna casserole again!" will put their relationship on edge from there to bedtime.

Fortunately, whenever we have been apart from those we love, we have a new opportunity to kind of reset the mood. A little sensitivity when coming back together can produce surprising benefits. It all depends on the first five minutes.With Focus on the Family, I'm Dr. James Dobson.

Related Content