The morning that I began to write this chapter for the first edition of this book, my then four year-old daughter and I had breakfast together. She often used breakfast as a time to plan what we would do together when I returned from work. At four, she had already mastered many of the finer points of persuasion. She understood that to persuade me she must first secure my attention. Further, she realized that she must compete with her sister, my wife, the radio, the morning newspaper and my own preoccupations, if she was going to obtain a commitment to do one of her favorite things when I returned from work.

She usually secured my attention by asking that I sit with her at the children’s table in our kitchen. This table had only two chairs, was secluded in a corner and, given its small size, placed us very close…

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