Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – December 2003

Volume 3 Number 12 


 1. Welcome

 2. Promoting Responsibility

 3. Increasing Effectiveness

 4. Improving Relationships

 5. Your Questions Answered

 6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:

    Free Mailring

    Your Questions Answered

    Impulse Management Posters and Cards


A young man on vacation was

staring at the calm, blue sea

thinking about lunch. A small boat laden with a large

Yellowfin tuna docked near the pretty Mexican village. A

lone fisherman jumped ashore.

“That¹s a great catch,” said the tourist. “How long did it

take you?” “Not so long,” said the fisherman. “Why didn¹t

you stay out longer and catch more fish?” “This one¹s enough

to keep my family provided for,” came the response.

“What do you do with the rest of your time?” inquired the


“I sleep late, I fish a little, I play with my children,

then I have lunch, and take a siesta with my wife. We stroll

into the village every evening. We sip wine, listen to the

guitar players, and I play cards with my amigos. It¹s a full

and rich life, senor.”

“I think I can help you,” the visitor said. “I¹m here on a

vacation having just finished my MBA. You¹ve got to spend

more time fishing, buy yourself a bigger boat, make more

money, and then perhaps several boats until you¹ve got a

fleet. Don¹t sell your catch to a middleman. Sell directly

to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. Then

you can control the product, control the production, and

control the distribution. You could then leave your small

town behind, move to Mexico City, then maybe to Los Angeles,

and eventually perhaps New York to run your own expanding


“But senior, how long would this take?”

“Oh, 15, 20 years.”

“But what then?”

“Well, that¹s the best part,” the young man proudly stated.

“When the time is right, you could float stock on the stock

market and make millions of dollars.”

“Millions you say. And then what?”

“Well then you could retire. Move to a pretty village by the

sea. Sleep late, fish a little, take a siesta with your

wife, stroll to the village in the evening, sip wine, listen

to the sounds of the guitars, and play cards with your


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font, like Monaco or Courier. Just select [highlight] the

graphic and, if on AOL, change the font under the Edit


Happy Holidays. 0

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It seems amazing that 2003

is drawing to a close. As I

reflect on the year, I assess what I have learned this year

to keep pace with our changing and technological times. As

creatures of habit, we find new ways more difficult simply

because they are different. But I have tried to use the past

as a guidepost, rather than as a hitching post.

I think the greatest compliment one can give an individual

in our changing world is that he or she is a student of

something and constantly seeks to learn and grow.

I view learning as a responsibility I have for myself.

Perhaps the statement of the dear old gentleman in his

eighties best captures my thinking. He said, “Whatever the

confusions of yesterday, the uncertainties of tomorrow, or

the frustrations of today, this I know to be true: When I

cease to grow, I’ll begin to die. And so while I can run,

I’ll run; while I can walk, I’ll walk; and when I can only

crawl, I’ll crawl. But I’ll always be moving forward.”


Effective people persist.

They don’t give up easily.

Persistence accounts for much of achievement. A major

quality that classifies people as gifted is that they stick

to a task.

What is it that allows a person to persevere? According to

Art Costa (http://www.habits-of-mind.net),

they have a

repertoire. These people have many different ways to solve a

problem. If you only have one way to solve a problem and if

you try it and if it doesn’t work, you will have a tendency

to give up.

But people who persist will try a plan, and if that approach

doesn’t work, they go to another plan. If that one doesn’t

work, they create another and continue to search until they

are satisfied.

Having a repertoire of problem-solving processes is what

allows and encourages persistence.

The concept of persisting or persevering has to do with

knowing how to behave when you DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER.

In school, we were accustomed to receiving tests back with

a score assigned. The score represented the number of

answers we knew. But the critical point in life is not the

number of correct answers we know but how we behave when we

don’t know.

Most of the problems we face in life have no easy answers.

When confronted with a dilemma, an enigma, or a problem that

is ambiguous, do you think of alternatives to meet the

challenge or do you say to yourself, “I can’t do this,” and

then give up.

It’s more beneficial to learn and teach three ways to solve

one problem than it is to teach one way to solve three



You can still get in the

last word: Apologize.

Thanks to Gene Griessman aka Abraham Lincoln.




Can you give me an easy way to explain to someone the

difference between punishment and discipline?


 PUNISHMENT is what is done TO a person.

 DISCIPLINE is what is done FOR a person.

6. Implementing the RAISE

You can share and learn more about the





I am writing to you because

I had a problem with a parent

today and I really need some advice.

One of my students behaves like a bully, hits his classmates

and threatens to hit them outside the classroom. He pushes

them or he sometimes makes them stumble. Today he used


I decided to send a note to his parents, and asked the

student to write the following:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Today I told a classmate to “Kiss my ass.”

He once told me that his mother never punished him or paid

any attention to him.

When his mother read the note, she became outraged and

decided to come and talk to me. She was quite rude and

almost insulted me but I remained calm all the same.

I just wanted to make him take responsibility and wondered

what you would have done.


Smart for staying calm!

Remember that you are being paid to teach the child, not his

parents. It is a sad fact of life today that too many

parents are confrontational–rather than supportive.

If a similar situation occurs, ask the parent, “What do you

suggest?” If the parent goes on a rampage, say, “I

understand, but what do you suggest?”

Remember the person who asks the question controls the


With the student, say, “This behavior is unacceptable.” Than

say, “What do you suggest we do about it? Keep to asking,

“What else?” “What else?” until a satisfactory solution is


Your task is particularly difficult because the youngster is

manipulating his mother–and she does not even realize it.

Just let him know that what he does outside of school is his

business, but what he does in school is yours. Only levels C

or D are acceptable, and if he does not behave at these

levels he will own the consequence because he will choose


When the youngster misbehaves, he is the one to feel the

stress–not you. And that goes for his mother, too!

Finally, review the chapter on “Classroom Meetings” at


Put the problem on the table. His behavior is the class’s

problem, also. Let fellow students come up with some

suggestions–with the bully present. Students hearing their

peers is far more powerful than being told by an adult. This

student needs some “emotional intelligence.” His classmates

can help him.


Learning a procedure to

respond appropriately to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link at


A REVISED VERSION of the CARD (not the poster) is now available and has been

posted at


Level C for COOPERATION is in green, as is Level D. Although the goal is for

motivation to be on level D, either of these two levels is acceptable.

Level C for CONFORMITY has been added in YELLOW to remind students to

reflect–to be cautious (as in a yellow traffic signal)–before engaging in an

activity suggested by a peer. This is especially the case when the suggestion

will lead to inappropriate or irresponsible behavior.