Whenever my students gave me an excuse for something within their control, my standard comment was this, “Responsibility finds a way; irresponsibility finds an excuse.” The purpose of this mantra was to encourage responsible thinking and behavior.
In order to significantly improve relationships, focus on CLARIFICATION, rather than attempting to influence the person. You will find that agreement is often achieved more quickly with this approach.
Rather than assuming you know the reasoning behind another person’s viewpoint, ask for an explanation. That is, aim at clarification—rather than influencing. Using this process, the person articulates the reasoning, and you many find that the person’s reasoning is worth considering.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching.” The same holds true for promoting responsibility. This approach was widely used in Native Americans cultures where suggestions for empowerment were commonly used. Rather than a father saying, “You have to do this,” he would often say something like, “Son, some day when you are a man you will do this.”
This is a powerful way to encourage, nurture, empower, and establish expectations.
Positive people are more likable. Think about the people in your life. Do your favorite people tend to be positive or negative? My guess is that they are the more positive people you associate with.
The fact is that you will be more likable to others when you focus on being positive.
When I was young, my mother often told me that if I can’t say something nice about a person, then don’t say anything at all.
This is great advice, not only for your communications with others, but also with yourself. In other words, if you can’t say (or think) something nice about yourself, then don’t say (or think) anything at all. Instead, exert … >>>
A lot of good information in this month’s newsletter.
At a Glance:
At the heart of the word responsibility lies the concept of the ability to respond: RESPONS-ABILITY.
Although we think we give responsibility, responsibility is only effective when it is taken.
Therefore, by its very nature responsibility between people is mutual—as are all successful attachments.
Responsibility has a counterpart of accountability. One reason that people resist imposed accountability is that the people in superior positions tell others what they are accountable for but not what they, themselves, are accountable for.
Somebody asked a centipede which leg he started out with when he went for a walk. This centipede thought and thought and thought about it—and was never able to walk again.
Point: Some human actions come naturally. Try to consciously walk down a flight of stairs by putting one foot ahead of the other, and you will trip. Such is the case with young people learning how to talk. Call attention to their stumbles and you will soon develop a perfectionist—or in this situation a stutterer.
Preview: Rules and assumptions can ruin relationships.
It is common for many families and workplaces to also rely on rules. Look into almost any classroom and you will see rules posted. The standard approach is to post rules because the assumption is that rules are the foundation for success. Rules are supposed to determine what the situation should look like, the type of behavior that is acceptable and encouraged, and rules help people work towards a common goal. In practice, however, many rules are posted in the negative of what NOT to do. This negativity is counterproductive to engendering positive motivation and good relationships in families, the workplace, and in classrooms.
Parenting without Stress:
Develop your skill of asking reflective questions—those that foster self-evaluation.
You will empower your children when you help them to develop this skill. The dynamic behind asking reflective questions is that it encourages ownership because people don’t argue with their own viewpoints.
One of the keys to effective parenting is to know the difference between IMPLICIT and EXPLICIT modeling and how you do both each day. The fact is that parents are the first teachers. Parents are always modeling how to behave.
In order to have some understanding of major physiological points about the connection between body and brain, here is a simple explanation of how the body creates stress (something that scientists refer to as “noxious stimuli”). Stress begins deep in the brain, where a structure referred to as the hypothalamus sounds an alert to the adrenal glands. There is clear evidence that adrenaline is a stress hormone that prompts fear, panic, or
As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, no two children (or adults for that matter) are the same. Each individual, young or old, views the world differently, interacts with others in a distinctive way, and processes information uniquely.
Differences are good. It would be boring if everyone acted, behaved, and thought the same way. But sometimes, interacting with people who are vastly different from you (as with many parent/child relationships) can be stressful.
Noticing behavioral styles among people is nothing new. The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was the first to categorize behavioral styles. Jung postulated that every individual develops a primacy in one of four major behavioral functions: intuiting, thinking, feeling, and sensing. If you and others … >>>
Once you understand that you can control your children—but cannot CHANGE them—your stress will be reduced and you will gain the joy that parenting has to offer.
Former U.S. President, Dwight David Eisenhower, served as the commanding officer of the United Nations forces during WWII. During that effort, “Ike,” as he was referred to, worked with a variety of different personalities from various countries. His definition of leadership is worth remembering: Leadership is the art of getting people to do something you want done because they want to do it.
Remember that in relationships with your children—regardless of age—not losing is more important than winning. As long as a person has a choice, that person does not lose. So, always offer choices or options—regardless of how small they may be. This is the easiest approach to avoid counterwill, the natural human tendency to resist coercion and the feeling of being controlled, which everyone resents.
I am excited to announce a new feature called “Ask Me Anything” (A.M.A) in my monthly newsletters. I invite YOU to submit QUESTIONS to me on ANY SUBJECT OR TOPIC. You can send your questions via e-mail.
Preview: “How is offering choices teaching children that there are some things in life they have to do regardless of their mood or sense of power like bathing, attending school, later holding a job, being responsible for themselves when their choices are limited? If everything become negotiable, if they think they will always have choices, what happens when sometimes in real life there are few or no choices, or they don’t like any of the choices?”
Everyone makes choices every awake moment. We make a choice to get out of bed in the morning—or stay in bed, what we eat—or not eat, to brush our teeth—or not to, what to say—or don’t say, etc.
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