Without Stress Newsletter – August 2016

Volume 16 Number 8 August 2016
Newsletter #181 Archived


  1. Welcome
  2. Reducing Stress
  3. Promoting Responsibility
  4. Increasing Effectiveness
  5. Improving Relationships
  6. Promoting Learning
  7. Parenting Without Stress
  8. Discipline without Stress (DWS)
  9. What People Are Saying


Growth is its own reward.

A few months ago I started to share my experience in Finland and their educational system. However, so many projects have intervened since that I regret not posting the other articles and explaining the reasons that Finland’s educational system performs with the best countries in the world. The articles can be read by searching  at WithoutStress in the upper right corner for “Finland.”

Recently published Without Stress Tips:

24 Action Without Thought
25 Perfectionism
26 Vision, Success, and Stress
27 Reduce Stress by Analyzing the Risks

My books “Discipline [and Teaching] Without Stress” and “Parenting Without Stress” will be joined in a few months with my newest book, “LIVE WITHOUT STRESS: How to Enjoy the Journey.” In order to have my approach become universal, rather than limiting it to only parents and teachers, I have changed my prime website to https://withoutstress.com/

The new site is better organized and makes it easier to find information.

My original site http://MarvinMarshall.com is now devoted to keynote presentations, seminars, workshops, and training.

Twitter accounts:
twitter.com/teachwostresss (Teaching Without Stress)
twitter.com/parentwostress (Parenting Without Stress)
twitter.com/MarvMarshall (The one I have been using)


No one likes to be TOLD what to do. Think of a time when someone told you what to do or told you that you had to do something. Notice how it conjured up a negative emotion and may even promote stress.

I grew up with a friend who, when told what to do by a parent, would find an excuse NOT to do it. Even if it was something he wanted to do, such as going outside to play. He would find an excuse to stay indoors just because he was TOLD. Depending upon the other person’s mental frame at the time, when we tell a person what to do—regardless of how admirable our intentions—the message is usually PERCEIVED either as an attempt to control or as criticism that what the person is doing is not good enough.

Next time you have an urge to tell somebody what that person should do, reflect on whether the person may take it as feedback or as criticism. A safer approach is to start with a question such as, “Would you like a suggestion?” Stress can be reduced and relationships improved by questioning rather than by telling.


People do better when they feel good—not when they feel bad. This is a simple fact of life.

When thoughts are guided to focus on the positive and constructive, then the self is nourished and enriched.

One sales clerk in a candy store always had customers lined up waiting while other sales clerks stood around. The owner of the store noted her popularity and asked for her secret. “It’s easy,” she said. “The other girls scoop up more than a pound of candy and then start subtracting some. I always scoop up less than a pound and then add to it.”

People are like magnets. They are drawn to the positive and are repelled by the negative. This is an important principle to understand. People who are effective in promoting responsibility will phrase their communications in positive terms. They emphasize what to do, rather than focusing on what not to do or by taking things away.


Andrew Carnegie, the first great industrialist in America, at one point had 43 millionaires working for him. A reporter asked him how he managed to hire all of those millionaires. His responded that none of them was a millionaire when he hired them. The reporter inquired, “Then what did you do to pay them enough money so that they became millionaires?” Carnegie responded that you develop people the same way you mine gold. He said, “You go into a gold mine and you expect to remove tons of dirt to find an ounce of gold. But you don’t go into the mine looking for the dirt; you go in there looking for the gold.”

Point: Look for the good in people and build on it.


I have found the easiest way to improve relationships is—before I open my mouth—to ask myself, “Is what I am going to say have the person feel good or bad?”

If I think my conversation will prompt a negative feeling, I change how I was about to say it so that it will not be perceived negatively.

Anyone can do it. Try it!


The following is a communication I received that is worth reading.

The schools in our county have adopted a method of controlling behavior in schools. Each classroom has a sheet with the students’ names and W12345 next to each. The “W” means “Warning.” When a student has been reprimanded the first time he/she is given a warning circle. Subsequent reprimands increase the number of circles. The more circles, the more time is taken off of recess. This sheet is taken everywhere the students go: library, lunch, other classes, and even recess. At the end of the week the child is rewarded with a small token for good behavior, and at the end of the half year the child is taken on a trip, such as skating and the zoo.

After substituting at the school, I was able to see first hand how this was a failure from the start. The children felt very pressured and the parents very upset if their child did not get to go on the “big trip.”

Some of the teachers have abandoned the idea and now start each student with an “A” in behavior and when they receive a reprimand they have points taken away from the A, one point for each reprimand. The children don’t know all of the “rules” yet, so why should teachers expect perfect behavior each and every minute, day in and day out, week after week? Also, when a teacher is having a bad day, the whole class gets a reprimand even if all the students were not misbehaving!

I could see where the Deming Philosophy would work well here.

Marcie Nichols Loudon,

See my blog about the Deming philosophy at Deming/


Rather than imposing consequences—which are often viewed as punishments and are coercive and negative—use contingencies because they are positive and focus on expected behaviors. Assuming what the youngster did is unacceptable, just ask, “What do you suggest we do about it?” Continue to ask this same question until the procedure or consequence agreed upon will help the youngster learn not to repeat the unacceptable behavior.


Periodically, I receive email from a primary teacher who has second thoughts about using the vocabulary of the Social Development Hierarchy. The problem so often is that the adult is uncomfortable with the terms “anarchy” and “bullying.”

Two points are important regarding the vocabulary of the hierarchy:

(1) The way to learn a concept is to have a way to describe it. This is the reason that one of the most fundamental approaches to success in school is vocabulary development. This seems rather obvious since vocabulary words are taught as soon as youngsters enter school.

(2) Adults associate the two unacceptable lower levels as negatives. When these words are used, adults conjure up negative thoughts and feelings about them. That is the very point and the reason these terms should be taught. We want the same negative thoughts and feelings to arise in young people when they describe these unacceptable levels. Young people are in the process of becoming adults. The way to develop responsible adults is to expose young people to ideas, not to hide negatives from them so that they grow up not being able to discern what is appropriate and what is not.

The following is a communication I received from a kindergarten teacher shedding light on the point.

“I have used the hierarchy in Kindergarten and was surprised how quickly the Kindergarten students were able to pick up the language and were able to label situations as “Anarchy” and “Bullying.” It was a particularly challenging class. We used the Happy Face poster and discussed how Level A and Level B usually results in tears. We talked about what C and D levels are like in the hallway, in the bathroom, etc.

“It was very effective. kindergarten students were certainly able to reflect on their behavior and discuss how to change their behavior. It works and it’s great!”


I didn’t unsubscribe from the newsletter. I have changed my email address. In fact, this is one of my favorite newsletter to improve my teaching and my relationships. I have also bought your book.

Oscar Y Mariien Malan Schnyder





Copyright © 2016 Marvin Marshall

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