Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – December 2001

Volume 1 Number 5


 1. Welcome

 2. Promoting Responsibility

 3. Increasing Effectiveness

 4. Improving Relationships

 5. Your Questions Answered


 7. Public Seminars

 8. What Others Are Saying About The Book
How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning”


As the

year draws to a close (already!), it seems fitting to

conclude this “decade of the brain” — or was that the

last decade? — with some thoughts that promote



Diamond is an internationally known neuroscientist who

has studied mammalian brains for decades. Dr. Diamond is

the author of “Magic Trees of the Mind: How to Nurture

Your Child’s Intelligence, Creativity, and Healthy

Emotions from Birth through Adolescence.”

Her recipe

for enriching the brain to increase academic success

heavily relies on nurturing the uniqueness of each brain

in a caring environment.


studies have shown that an enriched environment


1. Setting

the stage for enriching the cortex by first providing a

steady source of positive emotional support — which

includes encouragement and tender loving care. (The

emotional brain is older than the analytical brain.)

2. Providing a nutritious diet with enough proteins,

vitamins, minerals, and calories.

3. Stimulating all the senses — but not necessarily all at

the same time.

4. Having

an atmosphere free of undue pressure and stress but

suffused with a degree of pleasurable intensity.

5. Presenting a series of novel challenges that are neither

too easy nor too difficult for the young person at his

or her stage of development.

6. Allowing for social interaction for a significant

percentage of the activities. There is no doubt that

peers are intrigued with and enjoy each other.

7. Promoting the development of a broad range of skills and

interests that are mental, physical, aesthetic, social,

and emotional.

8. Giving opportunities to choose many of his or her own

activities. Each brain is unique. Allow that uniqueness

to develop.

9. Offering opportunities to assess the results of his or

her efforts and to modify them. As a child builds a

sandcastle and admires its construction before a big

wave destroys it, the youngster needs to learn to start

over and resculpt.

10. Providing an enjoyable atmosphere that promotes

exploration and fun of learning.

11. Promoting active participation, rather than passive


As studies of learning have shown, the brain needs

time to relate new information to existing associations.

Students need time to reflect — to think about what is


As we reflect upon this fading year, may you look

upon it as a positive one, a year where good choices

were made, and reflect — so that next year will

continue and/or improve upon what we have learned during

this one.



people know little of the travails that their parents

once faced as everyday experiences — be it the two-mile

walk to school, the shoveling out of the ashes from the

apartment buildingÕs furnace, or spending a summer

painting the longest picket fence ever built. Their idea

of a hard time is when their parents aren’t home to

provide dinner, and they have to make their own.

I once

worried about their perspective until someone told me

that you can never make your kids truly appreciate your

experiences. They will never know what your experiences

really were like. Don’t even try to make that happen.

That was

good advice.


really is no need to remind young people of how much

harder it may have been for us. They only know their own


And if we

stop to reflect, we probably had it easier than our


Long ago I

stopped saying, “When I was young,” and “You do not

realize how easy you have it.” What my wife and I did

instead was to concentrate on providing the values that

we hold dear, values that would stand in good times or


I am

referring to values reminiscent of the classical

virtues, namely, qualities of character. The four

classical virtues of prudence, temperance, justice, and

fortitude — as old as Aristotle — are just as

compelling today.


is practical wisdom — recognizing and making the right



involves much more than moderation in all things. It is

the control of human passions and emotions, especially

anger and frustration.

Fortitude is courage in pursuit of the right path,

despite the risks. It is the strength of mind and

courage to persevere in the face of adversity.


in the classical sense, includes fairness, honesty, and

keeping promises.

I have

come to the conclusion that the best we can do is pass

on the wisdom of former generations. Our children will

then be in a position to take care of themselves — as

you and I have.


We often

are not conscious of the power of our communications.

The words

and phrases we use in our daily interactions have three

major influences:

(1) They

influence how we think and experience the world,

(2) They

shape the way others see us, and

(3) They

determine how much cooperation and success we have with

other people.

A prime

reason is that what we say doesn’t just go out of our

mouths to others’ ears; we hear them, too.

We can use

words which are landmines and which will blow up our

odds of getting cooperation, or we can be persuasive in

a positive way. For example, if I introduce a phrase

with the word, “unfortunately,” it conjures up that

something bad will follow. I have communicated in such a

way that it prompts you to set up a negative mindset.

What I say after, “unfortunately,” will support your


The key is

to accentuate the positive. When thoughts are guided to

focus on the positive and constructive, then the self is

nourished and enriched. A monkey is smart enough to eat

only the nourishing banana and throw away the bitter

peel. Yet, humans often “chew on the peel” of negatives.

Negative thoughts and words affect us in the ways listed



following short tale will help you focus on the positive

so that you will think this way, will shape how others

see you, and will influence how much cooperation and

success you have with other people.


salesgirl in a candy store always had customers lined up

waiting while other salesgirls 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



continued, “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.



Capell, a teacher-friend of mine in Italy, forwarded the

following to me. It seems appropriate to share it at

this time of the year — as she suggested.

If you

want to make a difference, recall the following:

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America


4. Name five people who have won a Nobel or Pulitzer


5. Name the last half-dozen Academy Award winners

for best actor (female and male)

6. Name five of the last decade’s World Series


How did

you do?

The point

is that none of us remembers the headliners of

yesterday. Notice that these are not second-rate

achievers. They’re the best in their fields. But the

applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are

forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with

their owners.

Now, here

is another quiz. See how you do on this one.

1. Name

five teachers who aided your journey through your formal


2. Name five people who have helped you through

difficult times.

3. Name five people who have taught you something


4. Think of five people who have prompted you to

feel appreciated or special.

5. Think of five people with whom you enjoy spending


6. Name five people whose experiences have inspired





The people

who make a difference in your life aren’t the ones with

the most credentials, the most money, or the most

awards. They’re the ones who care.

Share this

with someone you care about.



I’m a

teacher at a suburban Atlanta charter high school. As a

member of the Discipline Committee for the high school,

I am involved in the rethinking/restructuring of our

discipline system and, of course, you and your program

have come to our attention.

We have

perused the “Quick Explanation” on your “Summary” link

of your webs site and have ordered your book. We are

very interested in the “Raise Responsibility System.”

We have

considered having posters with the A, B, C, D concepts

printed for every classroom. However, several of us are

concerned that these may come across as too juvenile for

high school students. We suspect that these concerns

will be addressed in your book when it arrives, but in

the meantime can you allay these concerns or clarify how

we might present the concepts to older students?



RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM is the subject of the third

chapter. It shows how the A, B, C, D levels separate the

student from behavior — thereby negating the need for a

student to self-defend, which so often is the start of

an adversarial dialogue.

Since some

high school students are attracted to the idea of

anarchy, level A needs to be made personal. Discussions

are the key. First, have students describe some

situations which would occur when there is no law or

order. The discussion will conjure up examples where

some would steal and bully others. Anarchy generally

suggests doing what you want without regard to others.

Then, make

it personal. Ask how students would like it if there

were no laws, no judicial system, and no executive

department. “If someone stole something from you or

bullied you and there were no laws against it, no system

of justice, and no police to protect you, how would you

like it?”


anarchy is personalized it quickly loses its appeal.

For level

B, Bullying/Bothering — making one’s own rules —

discuss how people feel when others push them around.

For level

C, talk about peer pressure and why we do things because

we want to belong — even though we know that sometimes

what the group is doing is neither good for them nor for



Understanding external motivation, level C — and being

able to recognize when peer pressure stimulates them to

do something — is empowering. Having a way to

articulate the concept allows young people to resist the

power and persuasiveness of peer pressure.

For level

D, discuss what has given them the greatest satisfaction

of anything they have ever done. The answer will always

come to some personal satisfaction through effort,

rather than someoneÕs telling them to do something.


Understanding internal motivation, level D, and taking

the initiative to do the right thing brings feelings of

satisfaction and internal rewards that level C can never


It is the

teaching of these concepts of levels of social

development that is the basis and sets the foundation

for the “Raise Responsibility System.”

In terms of the direction, maturation, and

satisfaction of your students’ lives, their having a way

to recognize and differentiate differences between

internal and “external” motivation may be one of the

more important learnings your students will ever be



bulletin boards for your high school students: (1) Post

the vocabulary in a hierarchical order with “Anarchy” at

the bottom and “Democracy” on top. On a personal note to

show the effect of daily viewing, I am a graduate of

Hollywood High School where every day I saw the school’s

motto, “Achieve the Honorable.” How does one forget

something seen every day for three years? (2) Post

questions which are reflective and self-evaluative,

e.g., “Is what you are doing helping get your task

done?” “Are you pleased with your effort?” “Is what you

have done quality work?”


If you are a teacher, read the Gazettte at

teachers.net, and bookmark this website:




Educators, Youth Workers, and Parents



Promote Responsibility and Learning


Staff Development Resources.

Request a

brochure for complete information. Call 800.678.8908.


CA March 14

Ontario, CA March 15

Sacramento, CA March 19

So. San Francisco, CA March 20



   How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning”


comprehensive book is an excellent resource that should

be made priority reading.”


Lubetsky, M.D.

Chief, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services


of Pittsburgh School of Medicine




Association of Elementary School Principals

National Association of Secondary School Principals

National School Boards Association

Phi Delta Kappa International

Performance Learning Systems

The Brain Store