Get Smart School Success #3: The Power of Thou

Get Smart Success Camp for Students #3:

The Power of Thou

Yep.  It’s happening.  The alarm is about to blare into your ear and welcome you to the early hours of the day again.  Your days of Netflix, sleeping until noon and all night Facetime are over.  Welcome to the new school year!

I’m sure you’ve already gone shopping, got your schedule, and maybe you’ve even gone to school for some sort of  activity or to find your classrooms before Day One begins.  The point is, we all get ready for the new school year by taking care of our basic needs: food, school supplies, clothes and sleep patterns.

But have you thought about what you want to feel like this year?  How do you want to feel at the end of the school day?  How about at the end of the year?  (too much?  I know…I pushed you there!).  What did you like about school and home last year?  What do you never ever want to go through again?  (HINT:  The bad stuff is sometimes the very best teacher and inspiration for change in your life!  Don’t be afraid to admit you sucked at friendship, or got really hurt from social media stuff).  What do you need from your friends, your family, your teachers, yourself this year to make it better?

I’m going to suggest ONE THING to try this year.  How about stop treating people like ITs and start treating them like THOU!  (Drum roll!  Confetti!  This is a GREAT IDEA everyone!).  Let me explain….


There was once a great man called Martin Buber (go ahead…giggle…everyone does).  He had this theory about how to make people feel loved, safe, secure with others.  He said that we can treat others (or be treated) like an IT or a THOU.  He said we look at other people in one of these ways and then treat them and the relationship accordingly.  (HINT:  Treating someone like an IT, or being treated like an IT, is painful and leads to all sorts of problems with friends, parents, family members and boyfriends/girlfriends).


This is the relationship that sees the other person as an “it”.  IT means that they are a problem to be fixed, a cute person to chase, a teacher who is evil, a parent who is treated like an ATM machine or Santa when you need something.  It’s a selfish way to see people as roles or conveniences rather than another human being. I/IT doesn’t see the person as having deep value no matter what they can or cannot do for you.  You know people who have treated you like an IT, right? And it hurts, yes?



Ever feel like an “it” in a relationship?  You know when it happens. You’re just a label, a solution, a ride, money for lunch. Think about a person or relationship where that is true for you.

Ever treated someone like an “IT”?  Maybe a person who you’re nice to because they’re the only one to sit with in class, but you never think about their life, or consider ways to get to know them better.  Maybe it’s a teacher you hate and say awful stuff about to kids in class.  Maybe it’s someone you’re trolling on social media. Maybe it’s your parent who you talk to when you need money or clothes or something signed.  Ouch! That hurts to think about being someone who treats others like this.

BUT THERE’S GOOD NEWS! You can make a change in your way of seeing other people and the way you treat them!


Buber explains this “I/THOU” relationship as one where you see the person as important and loved just because they are who they are (lofty and weird, but think about it…it’s really good!).  When we see other people like someone who matters, someone who is important and someone who deserves kindness and love, we change our relationships dramatically!

Have you ever been in an I/THOU relationship?  Have you ever been so loved, that the person’s eyes sparkle and shine when you walk into a room?  Have you ever felt so completely loved and cared for, you feel like you could do anything? That’s I/THOU!  It’s amazing what one person’s caring and love can do for your life!


Who do you have an I/THOU relationship with?  Parent?  Grandparent? Teacher? Sibling? Boyfriend/Girlfriend? You know you have this when you can’t wait to be with them and you know you’ll be safe, seen and heard.  You love coming to their house or classroom because they ask about how you are REALLY doing.

Who do YOU see and treat like this?  Who needs you to make some changes and stop treating them like an IT…and get to the THOU? You might be asking, “How am I supposed to know how to change relationships???  It’s too late, everyone knows I’m a brat.”  No…I’m not going to buy that excuse.  It WILL take work, but you are going to have such a different home life, school life, friend life if you’ll take a few of the following suggestions:



If you’re still reading this, I’m IMPRESSED!  And I KNOW you can change your world and the people around you because you are ready to be an I/THOU person!

  • First, think about the 3 – 5 MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN YOUR WORLD. And then be honest.  How do you see and how do you treat them?  Do you ask and take more than you listen and give?  Do you stick with safe topics like homework or what’s for dinner instead of asking how they are doing?  Be honest.  These are your THOU TARGET PEOPLE!


  • Become famous for asking these kind of questions:

How are you? How are you REALLY?

How can I help/support you right now?

Tell me more about that…


  • Also become famous for LISTENING…with your ears, your eyes (look at them!) and your posture.Your entire body tells the truth about how much you’re listening (psst!!!!  Put the phone away!)


  • NEVER ever EVER text an argument with your parents or friends (or anyone in your life!). it’s unproductive.  There are things you can never take back.  There’s no connection and resolution through text.  You text an IT.  You take time to talk, face to face and eye to eye with a THOU.  If someone texts you (or DM, or PM, or whatever) with an argument or criticisms or simply awful stuff you don’t need to believe about them or yourself, DON’T TEXT BACK.  Turn off the phone.  Walk away. And when you can breathe and not feel like you’re about to get even, call or text them saying you’d like to talk to them tomorrow about what is going on.  Yeah…treating others like a THOU takes a lot of courage!  And I KNOW you can do this!


Life gets really hard. Friends and family hurt you with their words, their actions, their lack of listening.  I get it.  And you might even be thinking, “Why should I have to do this…THEY are the ones who have been so hurtful.”  Because you have the power to make changes in your life and the lives around you.  It takes courage and moxie and all sorts of feisty to change a relationship with a parent or friend.  AND I know you can do it!  Focus on THOU…see them as someone who has a story, needs a friend, and might be hurting (which is why they say or do hurtful things to you and others).


HERE’S THE TRUTH: This is one of those “life changers”. If you can learn and experience I/THOU relationships in middle school, high school or college, you’ll be WAY AHEAD of most of the people around you!  Give it a try!  And let me know how it goes (


Feel stuck with your relationships?  You might have had a really hard year with relationships last year. You like the thought of I/THOU, but you aren’t sure how to start, or you don’t think you can do it.  You’re not alone.  I love working with people under 30 because you are the kind of people who like to work hard in therapy, laugh and enjoy what happens when you start experiencing life, school and family again.  If you want (or need) a safe place for deep healing as well as goals and strategies for a better life, call me at 720-230-3076 for a FREE 15-minute consultation. We can talk about what’s going on, and see if I might be a good fit for the kind of therapist you want.  Don’t want to call but are curious?  Go to  I have a video (I admit…I cringe a bit, but I wanted you to hear what I sound like) and some other blogs on the TEEN or YOUNG ADULT page. You can also email me on that page with questions, or to make an appointment.


Now go enjoy the Power of THOU!





One thought on “Get Smart School Success #3: The Power of Thou”

  1. Wonder Smile says:

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    I’ve bookmarked it for later!

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