The old story told of a banker who often dropped a coin in a beggar’s cup bears repeating.
Unlike most people, the banker would insist on getting one of the pencils the beggar had with him. The banker would say, “You are a merchant, and I always expect to receive good value from the merchants with whom I do business.”
That daily routine went on for some time, but one day the poor street beggar was gone. Time passed, and the banker forgot about him.
Years later the banker walked by a little store, and there was the former beggar, now a shopkeeper. The shopkeeper said, “I always hoped you might come by some day. You are largely responsible for my being here. You kept telling me I was a merchant. I started to think of myself that way—instead of as a beggar looking for handouts. I started selling pencils, lots of them. And today I’ve got a little business. You showed me self-respect. You influenced me to look at myself differently.”
Can people change? Of course they can. But the change is often preceded by your expectations for them.