Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Choice-Response Thinking – In a Poem!

Recently I came across this poem by Portia Nelson.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS

 

by Portia Nelson

 

I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

 

It struck me that this poem sums up why I love teaching with the Discipline without Stress approach so much!  DWS allows me to help kids understand that there is always “another street” in life––so why not take it?  We don’t have to keep falling in that same hole in the sidewalk day after day, year after year.  There’s a choice! If we want to, we can choose a different path.

While Portia seems to have suffered more than half of her lifetime before learning about choice-response thinkingwe don’t have to! Every day, we can choose to become more conscious about the things we say, the decisions we make, and the actions we take. In so doing, we can end up with very different results; ones that we really want, and ones that don’t include unnecessary suffering!

 

 

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1 Comment
  1. Dear Kerry,

    Thank you for sharing the poem. How many times do we do the same thing?

Dr. Marvin Marshall
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