Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – July 2015


  Volume 15 Number 7


  1. Welcome
  2. Promoting Responsibility
  3. Increasing Effectiveness
  4. Improving Relationships
  5. Promoting Learning
  6. Parenting
  7. Discipline without Stress (DWS)
  8. Reviews and Testimonials 




Your body is where it is; your mind is where you put it.

I have recently started to “tweet” on a regular basis. The tweet above is one of my recent ones. If you have a twitter account, please follow me at https://twitter.com/MarvMarshall

This is the last month that Discipline Online will be available at the low introductory investment of only $99.95. On August 1, this life-improvement program increases to $149.95. The 4-hour program of 54 modules on a variety of topics shows how to make life more enjoyable, reduce stress, and improve relationships. You may want to check out the program BEFORE the end of the month when the investment price will increase. 

I want to take your online program. I am a teacher and will be gone most of the summer traveling. How long will the online class resources be available to me? That is key to my signing up. I would like continual access, especially when school starts again in September. Thank you,

The membership for Discipline Online is for life. There is no expiration date. This allows you to visit any of the 54 modules as often as you would like.

Repetition is the mother of learning. This is the reason that I often listen to something or read something more than one time. I ALWAYS find something the second time that I missed or forgot from the first exposure.

Periodically when giving a presentation, I realize that I used to share a story or activity that I completely forgot. So I think of Stephen Covey’s 7th habit of highly effective people: sharpen the saw. In other words, refresh. I am currently re-reading one of my college texts just to review what I had learned but forgot.

The point: Once you purchase the program, it will always be there for you to use and/or review any time, 24/7.


My blog of June 2, 2015 was on “Restorative Justice,” a discipline program being used by many urban schools because of the federal mandate to reduce the number of minority students being disciplined and suspended. I quote from an article about Restorative Justice: “The administration welcomes this ‘Lord of the Flies’ scenario.

Here is little background about the “Lord of the Flies,” the title of a book that the article refers to along with information about the author.

William Golding was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1983 for his novels that “illuminate the human condition in the world of today.” He will probably be remembered primarily for his first novel, “Lord of the Flies,” a dark and disturbing allegorical tale about a band of English schoolboys stranded on a deserted island. The book was first published in 1954, and after the appearance of an American paperback edition, it became a word-of-mouth cult classic and ultimately one of the last century’s most celebrated books.

The author decided on a literary career in his second year at Oxford. A year before he graduated, he came out with a small volume of verse, making him a published author at age 23. After joining the Royal Navy in 1940, he spent the next six years witnessing a host of life-altering events, including the Normandy invasion of World War II that transformed his view of the world.

He became a full-time writer after the success of his 1954 book, ultimately producing ten more novels that explored the struggle between civilization and the darker, more savage aspects of human nature. In a 1960s lecture, he said: “Before the Second World War, I believed in the perfectibility of social man, that a correct structure of society would produce goodwill, and that therefore you could remove all social ills by a reorganization of society.”

He went on to add that his wartime experiences profoundly changed his worldview, the essence of which he described in a powerful metaphorical assertion: “Man produces evil as a bee produces honey.” He also said, “In the battle between Good and Evil, Good is always at a disadvantage because it plays by the rules.”

We are witnessing this today in the demise of civilized societies in the Middle East.

William Golding articulated the two lowest levels of the Hierarchy of Social Development. 

With no adult supervision and no civilizing value system, ANARCHY became rampant. When anarchy is prevalent, someone or some group will take control. Whether based on charisma, knowledge, confidence, energy, enthusiasm, motivation or who knows what, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that whoever takes control makes the rules. In the story, Ralph and Jack took control and decided to make the rules that they imposed on the other boys. It’s called BULLYING.

The “Lord of the Flies” reminds me of another tweet I recently made: “Not teaching youth how to function is like asking them to play a game without teaching them how.”


Dale Carnegie was asked to share the most important lesson he ever learned.

“The most important lesson I have learned,” he said, “is the stupendous importance of what we think. If I knew what you were thinking, I would know what you are, for your thoughts make you what you are. By changing your thoughts, you can change your life.

“I now know with a conviction beyond all doubt that the biggest problem you and I have to deal with–in fact, almost the only problem we have to deal with–is choosing the right thoughts. If we can do that, we will be on the high road to solving all of our problems. The great philosopher who ruled the Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius, summed it up in eight words, eight words that can determine your destiny: ‘Our life is what our thoughts make up.’

“If we think happy thoughts, we will be happy. If we think miserable thoughts, we will be miserable. If we think fearful thoughts, we will be fearful. If we think sickly thoughts, we probably will be sick. If we think failure, we will fail. If we wallow in self-pity, everyone will want to avoid us. Am I advocating a Pollyanna attitude toward all of our problems? No. Unfortunately, life isn’t that simple. But I am advocating in the strongest terms that we should assume a positive attitude instead of a negative one.” 


Here are three suggestions for improving relationships with youth and adults alike.

–First, give affirmations. A simple acknowledgement can have dramatic results. This is especially important with young people. They want to assert their independence and autonomy. Just acknowledging that you have heard their point of view, regardless of agreement, can have a profound effect on how your growing young one feels about the relationship.

–Second, use quality listening time. Quality time is quality-driven, not necessarily quantity-driven. Simply give your full attention to the person speaking. By using eye contact, a nod now and then, and occasionally interjecting a clarification communicates that you are “with” the person–that you are not only listening but are hearing what the person is saying.

–Third, share quality activity time. Engage in activities together that are enjoyable. Walking and talking; viewing the same video, DVD, or movie; eating out. These are simple approaches to togetherness.

Remember that close relationships are largely emotion-driven and that it is the little things in life that really mean the most to all of us.


Many school districts have invested millions of dollars to reduce class size–especially in the lower grades. The assumption was that learning would increase if a teacher had fewer students. Results have shown that the return on investment was not very good.

Few aspects of schools had been studied as much as class size. The work has been going on for years, and there is no consistent relationship between the number of students in a class and achievement. The definitive analysis of the many hundreds of class-size studies was conducted by the educational economist, Eric Hanushek. 

It is a well-recognized truth that the most significant characteristic of improving learning is an effective teacher. It is also worth noting that hiring more teachers and building more classrooms in which to teach leaves little money to pay teachers. As a result, the salaries of teachers, relative to other professions, have steadily fallen over the past 50 years.

If you visit countries that are highly respected for their educational systems–as I have, including Japan, Korea, and Finland–you would find that their schools not only hold the teaching profession in very high regard, but their remuneration to teachers reflects this value. Schools in these countries also incorporate time for planning and collaboration into their teachers’ schedules–something almost rare in U.S.schools.


Here are two points to consider: (1) let your kids get bored and (2) do not snowplow.

(1) The more structured activities such as soccer lessons or dance lessons for six-year-olds, the less self-directed they become. An alternative to planning out their time is to let the kids get bored so they can figure out what to do on their own. 

(2) Do not snowplow. Like helicopter parents who hover over their children, snowplow parents also tend to hover. They want to smooth the path by clearing away obstacles in front of their growing children. 

Unfortunately, research in self-determination shows that doing so undermines a person’s sense of competence and action and autonomy–leading to higher levels of anxiety and depression, lower grades in school and less satisfaction with their life, even into adulthood. 

When parents do not adjust our involvement to a level that is developmentally appropriate as their children get older, the kids end up lacking the skills they need to function as adults.

My suggestion: Do not do things for young people that they can do for themselves.


Force without legitimacy leads to defiance, not submission.


I’m a 9th grade high school teacher in Long Beach, California. Most of us grew up with the old “rules and consequences” model, so I naturally followed it when I became a teacher 21 years ago. I don’t know whether our culture changed, or the kids changed, or I changed. But apparently no one ever told my students that bad behavior should be punished.

It’s like many of them are totally foreign to the concept. Why? I don’t know. But I was very tired of the stress that comes from running a coercive classroom. It was draining and depressing. Yet whenever the old “rewards and punishment” model seemed to be ineffective, I would double down on it. All I got for my titanic effort was more stress and worse behavior from my students.

About 3 years ago, I started to wonder if there was a better way to  managing student behavior. I started reading websites, books, anything I could find. I really felt desperate. One helpful book I read was “Teacher and Child” by Haim Ginott. It helped but still didn’t really provide a comprehensive system I needed in order to fully implement the total change that I knew I needed. Finally, about two years ago, I found your book “Disciple without Stress.” I read it with great interest over Christmas break, 2012. When I returned, I started teaching my students the ABCD levels and tried asking more reflective questions. It was slow going for a slow guy who’s been doing it wrong for 20 years, but I felt some improvement in my students that first year even though I’d already made a bad impression during the September-December before I bought your book.

Last year, I could feel things were changing. I started the year off on the right foot, and I was getting better at offering the students choice through reflective questions. I even started to build choice into their classwork and homework. I remember telling my daughter, “This year is different. I’m getting it. I’m doing it.

It’s really painful when the people you care about dislike you because they think you dislike them. That’s what coercion does to a relationship. Well, the first week of school this year I was walking my brand new students to the book room. An entire class of my students from last year approached us as they left the book room. Because of my long history of coercion (I was the king of referrals), almost as a reflex I braced myself for awkward silence or a few bitter obnoxious comments from last year’s students. Instead, I could hardly believe what happened. As they approached, they ALL smiled and yelled “Hi Mr. L! How are you? We miss you!” I was in shock. I’m actually crying right now. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that those I worked so hard for actually know I did it because I care. And Marv, it wasn’t just a fluke; the same thing has happened about 8 more times. Whenever I see a group of my old students, it’s obvious they are excited to see me. I can’t thank you enough.

I finally realized how to use positivity and how crucial it is. Even though I’m naturally a very positive person, I was lagging when it came to incorporating it in my class discipline. Then about a month ago, I had a revelation. I was asking a poorly behaved football player some reflective questions and he was becoming agitated by it. I admonished him, “Levon, listen; you’re a great guy; you know it, and I know it. I’m just trying to get you performing back up to your usual amazing level.” His whole face changed from frustration to a big, broad smile. Wow!! THAT is the magic of positivity: it keeps them in the game. For many kids, asking them to be self responsible is something totally new so they get frustrated. But positivity is the magic that reminds them that I’M ON THEIR SIDE. Their frustrations just melt away.

So this year, I’m the master of student discipline–after YOU, of course. As I was getting ready for Back to School night, I was thinking, “Wow, I wish someone had told me all this 15-20 years ago when my own children were young.” Then I realized I was about to have an audience with a bunch of people who could really benefit from this. I added a slide to the end of my presentation with photos and information on your two books. I told the parents how your book had “transformed” my teaching, and basically shared all the above information with them. Hopefully, you’ll get some book sales from it. 🙂

As a side benefit, your system makes me look like a rocket scientist whenever I talk with parents. The other day I was on the phone with a parent and said, “Your daughter has been having a challenge when it comes to keeping her phone out of sight. I’ve asked her a number of times how she’d like to solve this. She’s tried a few things, but it continues to happen. The last thing she chose was for me to call you if it happens again. So that’s why I’m calling, because your daughter asked me to.”  You could almost hear her jaw drop, Marv. Your system makes me look like the smartest guy in the room.

I’ll probably be teaching another 10 years or so. Thanks to you, when I retire I’ll leave a legacy of love and inspiration rather than coercion. I can’t thank you enough. I really don’t know how one person could have the wisdom to synthesize such a powerful comprehensive system. But I know your writings will transform countless classrooms and families.

Kevin L.
Long Beach, California

The book is available at MarvinMarshall.com

Landmark  EDUCATION book: 

Award-winning PARENTING book: