Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – June 2009

Volume 9 Number 6


1. Welcome

2. Promoting Responsibility

3. Increasing Effectiveness

4. Improving Relationships

5. Promoting Learning

6. Discipline without Stress

7. Testimonials and Research



Out of our desire to control comes punishment. Out of our

desire to raise responsible citizens comes teaching and



For teachers retiring from the profession, I share with you

a poem written by a dear friend:


It seems as though t’was yesterday

I started to discern

The young and bright, expectant faces

So eager then to learn.

I was young and quite proficient.

I thought I could instill

A world of knowledge in their heads

Through ineffectual drill.

It soon became so clear to me,

More now, than even then;

I am the student, they the teacher–

Again, and still again.

I learned to wait; to be patient,

Heed as they reason.

Charmed, I watched as all improved

With each advancing season.

They shared their music. What glorious music!

Their very souls revealed.

When they triumphed, so did I,

My pride was not concealed.

For in their struggle and success,

I’ve shared a minor fraction

Which fed my core, my very being,

Sustaining me to action.

The years now vanished; time draws nigh

To say goodbye, adieu

To all the zealous, bright-eyed youth,

Who taught me well and true.

Dianne Capell

Naples, Italy


If you want children to keep their feet on the
ground, put

some responsibility on their shoulders.


A commonly touted approach is to focus on goals for

improvement. However, focusing on a goal does not prompt

feedback. A more effective approach is to focus on behavior

and, more specifically, procedures.

Let’s assume that you want to improve your free throws in

basketball. Setting a goal of how many you can make in a row

will not be as helpful as a procedure for keeping your

elbows in and following through. If you missed a free throw,

you can reflect on whether or not you implemented all phases

of the procedure correctly.

Therefore, if you have a goal, be sure that you have a

specific behavior or procedure upon which to focus. Doing so

will help you reach your goal more effectively.


A few heart-warming stories about relationships and
the way

we treat people–from Bill Page:



During my second month of college, our professor gave us a

pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed

through the questions until I read the last one: “What is

the first name of the woman who cleans the area?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning

woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired, and in her

50’s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just

before class ended, one student asked if the last question

would count toward the grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, You will

meet, many people. All are significant. They deserve your

attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say


I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name

was Dorothy.


In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a

10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a

table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How

much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.

“Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied

the coins in it.

“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress

was growing impatient.

“Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain

ice cream,” he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the

table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid

the cashier, and left. When the waitress came back, she

began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed

neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five


You see, he couldn’t have the sundae because he had to have

enough left to leave her a tip.


In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed in the center

of a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if

anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s’

wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked

around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the

roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone

out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables.

Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his

burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road.

After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.

After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he

noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had

been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from

the king indicating that the gold was for the person who

removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned

what many never understand: Every obstacle presents an

opportunity to improve our condition.


Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital,

I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from

a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery

appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old

brother who had miraculously survived the same disease and

had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.

The doctor explained the situation to her little brother,

and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his

blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep

breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.” As

the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister

and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her

cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He

looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice,

“Will I start to die right away.”

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor;

the youngster thought he was going to have to give his

sister all of his blood in order to save her.


Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never

been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.


In a recent trip to New York, I purchased two books. The

title of one is “Positivity” and shows how having a positive

disposition is being proved scientifically to enhance the

quality of living. The other is a children’s book that makes

the point about positivity in a simple story. Following are

a few lines from the wonderfully illustrated book, “The

Dot,” by Peter H. Reynolds.

Art class was over. Her paper was empty. Vashti’s teacher

leaned over the blank paper. “Ah! A polar bear in a snow

storm,” she said. “Very funny!” said Vashti. “I just can’t


Her teacher smiled. “Just make a mark and see where it

takes you.”

Vashti grabbed a marker and gave the paper a good, strong

jab. “There!”

Her teacher picked up the paper and studied it carefully.


She pushed the paper toward Vashti and quietly said, “Now

sign it.”

Vashti thought for a moment. “Well, maybe I can’t draw, but

I CAN sign my name.”

The next week, when Vashti walked into art class, she was

surprised to see what was hanging above her teacher’s desk.

It was the little dot she had drawn–HER DOT! All framed in

(a) swirly gold (frame).

“Hmmph! I can make a better dot than THAT!”

She opened her never-before-used set of water colors and set

to work.

You can guess the rest of the story about how an adult can

change a negative perception into a wonderfully encouraging

one by using positivity and a little creativeness.

“The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds is available at Amazon.com

for $11.00 USD.

6. Discipline without Stress


Dr. Marshall,

First of all I would like to thank you for your wonderful

work in writing “Discipline without Stress.” We as a staff

have read the book.

I’d like to seek your feedback regarding the use of awards

in a 6th grade recognition ceremony. Not all kids get the

awards. We have a split opinion within the 6th grade

teacher group; some want to give the awards and others do


I guess I would like to believe that the 6th grade

ceremony recognizes all of our students, but we have a

couple of staff members who feel that certain students need

to get awards for their accomplishments while the others and

their families sit and watch.

Do you have any wisdom to guide us?


I believe we have to consider parents and what people are

accustomed to. If the school had moved to a total non-award

school, as some have, then there would be no dilemma.

In the current situation, consider a few options:

(1) Put it up to the student council.

(2) Have a meeting combining the student council, some

faculty members representing both sides, some parents whose

children are scheduled to receive the awards, and some

parents whose children are not going to receive awards. If

there is no agreement at the meeting, inform the

participants that the meeting was to hear all viewpoints and

that the school leadership team would make the final

decision. The advantage to this approach is that all parties

have been involved; it does not mean that the group makes

the decision.

(3) Give the awards in private.

(4) Do the traditional approach.

7. Testimonials/Research

I have used the approach very successfully with the 7th

grade music appreciation classes. I introduced the levels,

and classroom disruptions were minimal to non-existent.

Dianne Capell

Naples, Italy