One of the traditional and ineffective discipline techniques is to lecture or tell a youngster what to do. Even though the intent of telling a child is worthwhile, the actual telling is perceived as an attempt to control. Telling creates defensiveness and a tendency to resist, and it does not engender desire. In other words, it does nothing to reduce discipline problems because it fails to motivate the child to want to change.
The only way that you can “motivate” another person—whether spouse or partner, child, friend, or employee—is to provide an environment by which that person wants to change. This is especially the case when it comes to a lasting change in behavior.
Reflect on the story that originated during World War II. A young lieutenant explained the new GI insurance program to thousands of troops who were to be sent overseas. After a lengthy presentation, the young lieutenant asked for a showing of hands of those who were interested. No hands were raised. The lieutenant was rejected until an old sergeant raised his hand and asked permission to say a few words to the troops. The lieutenant nodded affirmatively.
The sergeant took the microphone and announced that within the week, they all would be sent overseas. Some of them would be sent to the front lines, and, unfortunately, some of them would not be coming back. He went on to say, “As the lieutenant has already explained, for those of you who enroll in this new GI insurance plan and who are killed, the U. S. Government will be obligated to send your families a check for $10,000. But for those who do not enroll in this new GI insurance and are killed, the U.S. Government will not be obligated to send your families one single dime.”
The old sergeant paused and then inquired, “Do you believe the U.S. Government will be sending to the front lines those of you who are enrolled in the new GI insurance and the U.S. Government will be obligated to send your families a check for $10,000, or those who are not enrolled and the U.S. Government will not be obligated to send your families one single dime?”
Telling is an external approach to motivation. As such, its usefulness in affecting long-term behavioral change, reducing discipline problems, and raising responsibility is limited. A more effective approach is to use an internal approach, which is the basis of The Raise Responsibility System.