Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – June 2002

Volume 2 Number 6  


 1. Welcome

  2. Promoting Responsibility

  3. Increasing Effectiveness

  4. Improving Relationships

  5. Teachers.net: PROMOTING LEARNING:


     A Lesson for Teachers, Parents, and Those Who Lead

  6. The Failings of Punishments and Rewards – Tips for Parents

  7. Your Questions Answered

  8. What Others Are Saying about the Book:


How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning”


Although I travel to
New York regularly working with schools in Harlem and Upper
Manhattan, it is rare that I do any sightseeing. However, I did have
the opportunity last month after BookExpo America, which was held at
the Jacob Javitz Convention Center in Manhattan. BookExpo America is
the largest book publishing meeting in the world with the exception
of the one held in Frankfurt, Germany.

For those of you who travel to the Big Apple and
would like something out of the ordinary,
following are two suggestions not found in many

Henry Clay Frick was the coke magnate who joined
forces with Andrew Carnegie, the world’s largest
steel maker in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth century. Coke (the coal type) is
necessary for the manufacture of steel. Frick
was an early art collector, and his acreage in
Pittsburgh now houses not only his mansion but a
wonderful museum.

When he become more involved in finance, Frick
built a second mansion in Manhattan (70th Street
at 5th Avenue), just east of Central Park. The
“Frick Collection,” in this majestic marble
structure, shares some of the world’s most
famous European paintings–including Rembrant
van Rijn’s most famous self-portrait. An
audiocassette is at your disposal to take you
through some of the treasures of classical art.

Pierpont Morgan (Why use “John” when you have a
name like

“Pierpont”?) was Mr. Wall Street himself. His
son built a duplicate mansion of his father’s
which now houses the Morgan Library (36th and
Madison). Whereas Frick collected masterpieces
of European art, Morgan collected masterpieces
of prose. His three Gutenburg Bibles give a
sampling of why scholars of history find the
collection so valuable. The only majestic,
private collection I have seen to compare is
John Adams’ collection in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Earlier this week I presented a “Distinguished
Lecture” for the Texas Elementary Principals and
Supervisors Association (TEPSA) and had the good
fortune of sitting next to Robert Welch, a
demographer. He has put information for every
city in the country on his website, Earth
Resources Systems.

Teachers are using the information for lesson
plans. Go to his site and find out more than you
knew about your own city. Remember to bookmark
the site after you go to it at


I have a request for those who have read my book,


How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility
& Learning.”

recently changed some of its
procedures and how it ranks books. One criterion
it uses is the number of book reviews per book.

Please assist my ranking by investing a few
minutes. Click on their website of my book on
their site:


Then click on “customer reviews” in the left
navigation bar and just write a sentence or two.

Thank you for sharing the your thoughts.


Avoid the victimization mentality for yourself.
It is toxically disempowering. Empowerment is so
much more effective. And even if it were not,
you would still be happier in an empowerment
mode than in a victimhood mode.

One recent staff discussion demonstrated that a
change in mindset would be required for some
teachers to leave the victimhood realm.
Believing that learning is prohibited because
students come from unstructured homes, from
poverty, or have some other situation that
cannot be changed is a mindset of victimhood
thinking–ON THE PART OF THE TEACHER. Certainly,
some home situations diminish optimum learning,
but they do not prevent learning.

Regardless of the situation, students can be
taught that they can be masters of their fate,
that they can be victors rather than victims.
Students can be taught that when entering the
classroom, they have the power to choose to
learn or not to learn. The choice is theirs. I
saw a teacher teach this powerful lesson to
first graders when she taught students to ask
themselves, “What can I do in this situation?”
The question empowered students with the
understanding that choices are always available.


I’m intrigued when I see two people engaged in
similar tasks but provide different responses to
helping others.

One bank teller smiles and says, “Hello, how can
I help you?” Another says, “Next!”

One bank teller says, “I don’t have any
two-dollar bills.” (I use two-dollar bills for
tipping skycaps and bellmen.) Another says,
“Although I don’t have any two-dollar bills, if
you can wait a moment I’ll see if I can obtain
some for you.”

One teller, working in a bank adjacent to a
senior retirement community, sees an older
person approaching and says to the visiting
supervisor, “See how grumpy these old people
are?” An adjacent teller waits patiently for the
elderly senior citizen to approach her window
and comments, “So nice to see you today.”

So why does one person attempt to bring sunshine
and another find a way to bring darkness? I
think it has less to do with the boss, the
family, the environment, the situation, the job,
hormones, television, or ornery people than we
think. I suspect it’s actually about one’s

Some people see at their awakening each morning
that existence demands mutual-supportiveness and
civility. This has nothing to do with status,
profession, or subculture. It has everything to
do with outlook. I’ve seen nurses who were
unsympathetic and needlessly cruel and police
officers in riot gear who were polite and

If you FEEL the world is out to get you, you
probably THINK it is. But if you believe your
existence is largely what you make it and how
you react to situations and stimuli, you’ll
enjoy yourself more. And if you manage to help
someone else make out well along the way, that’s
money in the bank of life.


If you look around at your family and friends, you
will see that the happiest people are the ones
who don’t pretend to know what’s right for
others and don’t try to control anyone but

You will further see that the people who are
most miserable are those who are always trying
to control others. Even if they have a lot of
power, the constant resistance in some form by
the weaker people they are trying to control
deprives them of happiness.

If you try to control a friend, the friendship will
be short-lived. Yet, we try to control those who
are most dear to us. We don’t use a controlling
approach with friends because it would strain
relationships. Then ponder whether using
controlling approaches should be used with those
we really want to influence.

The fact of the matter is that you will rarely,
if ever, solve a relationship problem by trying
to make the other person see that you are right
and he or she is wrong.

On the other hand, you have probably never heard
someone say, “I’m having a problem with what you
are doing and I think I have to change what I do
or we’ll never solve the problem.”

Yet, that is the secret for improving
relationships. Just keep it a secret. It’s not
necessary to say it out loud. BUT IT IS

In any relationship, rather than attempting to
correct or control the other person, simply ask
yourself, “What can I do to improve the
situation?” The result will be an option you
will think of that–by YOUR changing–will be so
much more effective in influencing the other to
change than any attempt at control.


How the Horse Whisperer Trains A Wild Mustang in 30 Minutes

A Lesson for Teachers, Parents, and Those Who Lead

<teachers.net/gazette> for this month shows how a noncoercive approach is so
much more effective and less stressful for all concerned than are traditional,
coercive approaches.


Scroll to the last link on the Discipline link.



I am a recipient of your “Promoting
Responsibility” newsletter, and I would like to
pose a question.

I believe in responsibility; however, my problem
is feeling OVERRESPONSIBLE for many things which
shouldn’t be my responsibility. However, fearing
that I may be looking for excuses not to do
something, I take the blame for things that
aren’t really my fault or shoulder tasks that I
shouldn’t be doing.

Where is the path and method of knowing the
difference of knowing when it is my duty and
when I should impose the responsibility or blame
on others?

My other problem is related to that of being
responsible, I have become independent, not
trying to look to others to blame or solve my
problems for me. But it’s come to a point where
I realize that I do need to ask people for help;
I do need to ask people for assistance. This is
the next level of maturity that Stephen Covey
writes about from dependency to independence to
interdependency. How should my thinking change?

Any assistance or thoughts would be appreciated.




Congratulations! You have a handle on and
understand Stephen Covey’s (7 HABITS OF HIGHLY
EFFECTIVE PEOPLE) paradigm–not to be confused
with a “paradigm shift,” which he also uses. (By
the way, the first testimonial in my book
described below is by Dr. Covey.)

My mantra is, “Don’t do things for other people
(regardless of age) that they can do for themselves.” When you
do, you are depriving them of an experience
which can assist in their growth and

The path and method are both in the question you
ask yourself, namely, “IN THE LONG RUN, will my
doing the task help the other person become more
responsible? A responsible person has greater
self-esteem, is more satisfied, and is happier.

If, on the other hand, you are sought out
because you are very responsibile, then you
should make a responsible decision concerning
yourself. “Know thyself” includes setting limits
to what you accept.

RE: Needlessly taking blame. Ask yourself, “What
can I learn and do differently next time?”
Forget blame. Look for growth and learning. This
approach is so much more valuable.

Getting back to Covey’s “interdependence,” I
have no problem stopping and asking someone for
directions. My approach is, “sure I can do the
plumbing, the gardening, the painting, do my own
website, etc. But I choose to spend my time in
the areas that are most important to me. I have
no problem asking others for help. Neither
should you.

One of the beauties of being human is the
opportunity for growth–our own and others.



   How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning”

“I can’t wait to recommend Marvin Marshall’s book
at my parenting classes and seminars. He gives
practical knowledge that inspires us to think in
new effective ways. I’m already using his
principles in my personal relationships.”

Kathy Collard Miller, Professional Speaker and
Seminar Leader and Author of WHEN COUNTING TO

REWARDS is carried by: National 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