Volume 9 Number 7
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Promoting Learning
6. Discipline without Stress
7. Testimonials and Research
MONTHLY RESPONSIBILITY AND LEARNING QUOTE:
Optimism (a cousin of positivity) is the basis of
persistence. And persistence is the basis of achievement.
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
The U.S. Army Academy at West Point, New York
had a larger
than expected drop-out rate. Admissions were largely based
on SAT scores and on physical strength. The academy added an
assessment for optimism. When these results were added to
the entrance requirements, the military academy’s drop-out
rate was reduced.
Positivity in self-talk leads to persistence.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
The Golden Question:
If I were limited to offering ONLY one question that (1)
would have a positive undertone, (2) that would require
choice, and (3) that would prompt reflection, that question
“WHAT DO YOU THINK?”
Use it. And then enjoy its effectiveness.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
One of the most successful approaches to solving
comes from the Native American aphorism: “Before we can
truly understand another person, we must walk a mile in that
person’s moccasins.” Before we can walk in another person’s
moccasins, we must first take off our own. This means to
perceive as with the other person’s eyes, hearing, mind, and
One of the deepest desires of humans is to be understood.
But how do you do it? The “Talking Stick” is one approach.
One reason for its success in solving differences and
problems is that it uses something tangible. The “stick” can
be a spoon, a stuffed animal, or any object that serves as
something that can be held and passed from one person to
When meeting to resolve an issue, the Talking Stick is
present. Only the person holding the stick is permitted to
speak. As long as you have the Talking Stick, you alone may
speak until you are satisfied that you are understood.
To be understood does not mean to agree.
The procedure is that others are not permitted to make their
own points, argue, agree or disagree. All they may do is try
to understand you and articulate that understanding.
They may have to restate your point to make sure you feel
understood, or you may just simply feel that others
understand. If your desire to feel understood is not
satisfied, egos and misunderstandings interfere with
As soon as you feel understood, it is your obligation to
pass the Talking Stick to the next person. As that person
shares, you have to listen, restate, and empathize until
that person believes he or she is understood.
Using this approach, all parties are responsible for one
hundred percent of the communication–both speaking and
Once each of the parties feels understood, an amazing thing
happens. The focus naturally shifts to problem solving.
Negative energy decreases, ill feelings evaporate, mutual
respect grows, and people become creative.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
A man was lost while driving through the country. As he
tried to read a map, he accidentally drove off the road into
a ditch. Though he wasnÕt injured, his car was stuck deep in
the mud. So the man walked to a nearby farm to ask for help.
“Warwick can get you out of that ditch,” said the farmer,
pointing to an old mule standing in a field. The man looked
at the haggardly mule and looked at the farmer who just
stood there and repeated, “Yep, old Warwick can do the job.”
The man figured he had nothing to lose. The two men and
Warwick made their way back to the ditch.
The farmer hitched the mule to the car. With a snap of the
reins he shouted, “Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted!, Pull,
Warwick!” And the mule pulled the car from the ditch with
very little effort.
The man was amazed. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule
and asked, “Why did you call out all of those other names
before you called Warwick?”
The farmer grinned and said, “Old Warwick is just about
blind. As long as he believes he’s part of a team, he
doesn’t mind pulling.”
Collaboration is an excellent strategy for achievement.
6. Discipline without Stress
If you are interested in viewing a PowerPoint of the
DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS approach, link to the “Media Room”
and click on the second link to download the PowerPoint.
I share the following:
I’m glad you enjoyed my success story, and yes, I’d be
honored if you would use it to help others understand the
great benefits of DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS. I’m an
elementary science teacher in Los Angeles, California.
Last Friday, three third graders left their homeroom in
route to my class (science) and on the way chose to yell
and scream and play an impromptu game of tag. (At my school,
we don’t walk the kids from class to class, and all the
classroom doors lead outside, so they were coming across the
Upon hearing the commotion, their homeroom teacher flew out
of her room and wound up in front of mine, fuming at the
gall of these kids. Since she got there first, I let her
handle it. She said, nearly yelling, “Which one of you
children decided to act like a preschooler and run and yell
while you were coming over here? I’ll stand here and wait
until whoever it was comes forward!” And of course, no one
moved a muscle because they could see how angry she was. She
went on and on about acting like wild animals, what the
other teachers would think if they saw them, etc. It was
clearly ineffective because after three minutes of this,
still no one confessed. There was a lot of staring and mean
looks coming from her and silence by all of us! I knew the
right way to approach this situation, but being that she has
been teaching 30 years longer than I have, I let her go on.
She finally left it that the kids should all think about
this incident over the weekend, and they would start on
Monday morning by writing apology letters to the other
teachers who they may have disturbed.
Once the kids were in my room, I took a different approach.
I asked what level running and screaming was on. They
clearly knew it was Level A. Then I reiterated that a Level
A choice was never acceptable. But I put this spin on it: I
said that even though some of them had made a Level A choice
already, now they had an opportunity to change it to a Level
C choice by cooperating and taking responsibility.
I explained that no one could make them do this, but if they
choose to, this situation could turn into an acceptable one
by their cooperating. We talked about responsibility and how
once a poor choice is made, we shouldn’t have to wallow in
it forever–that we can make a choice to fix it and move on.
Because the levels are so concrete and understandable, the
kids weren’t dwelling on the Level A behavior any more; they
were working on turning it into Level C. Shortly thereafter,
three kids came up to me and said they wanted to make a good
choice and take responsibility. The conversation followed
from there–“How do we walk between classes? Why wouldn’t we
want to yell and run?” etc. I didn’t feel extra punishment
was necessary because I wasn’t sure they ever understood
these things in the first place.
It was like a light-bulb moment when we talked about
someone’s getting hurt without a teacher around to help
them. Finally, I elicited consequences if this behavior
should happen again, and we moved on.
I should mention that I’m new to DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS
and just finished reading the book. If someone with only a
month of experience can have these kinds of interactions, it
must be good.
Read the book! Implement now, perfect later! It has made me
feel so much happier throughout the day. No more
(The website for the book is http://www.DisciplineWithoutStress.com/)
I borrowed your book from the library last summer and I
loved it! I used your system this year and it worked
San Francisco, CA