Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – June 2004

Volume 4 Number 6

While in Austin, Texas Friday morning, I watched the events of the national day of mourning for former

President Ronald Wilson Reagan, the United States of America’s 40th to be honored in that position.

Anyone watching the events of the last few days and especially Friday’s ceremony at the the Washington  National Cathedral would have been truly inspired. Eulogies from former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain, Brian Mulroney of Canada, former President George Herbert Walker Bush, and President George Walker Bush were eloquent in their description of how Ronald Reagan lifted the nation and the world by his infectious positivity and firm belief that mankind is capable of living free in democracy.

PROMOTING DISCIPLINE & LEARNING was created with a similar mission. The three principles to practice begin with positivity, and the hierarchy of social development has democracy as its highest level.


1. Welcome

2. Promoting Responsibility

3. Increasing Effectiveness

4. Improving Relationships

5. Promoting Learning

6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:

Free Mailring

Your Questions Answered

Impulse Management Posters and Cards



tangibles–led and fed the economies in the 19th and 20th centuries.

There were a few originators, but most people were followers. Obedience,

implementation of rules, and top-down management were the orders of the day.

What drives our 21st century? The creation and distribution of information.

Rather than compliance, initiative is required.

People rarely will work for one company all their lives. Increasingly, many

people are now working as independent contractors instead of working for others.

The number of individual entrepreneurs is continually growing.

People in their twenties are planning their retirements forty years in advance

because they no longer believe that traditional retirements will suffice in

their older years. The society of the 21st century requires initiative–not

merely following someone else’s plans for you.

Society is involved in complex social relationships–both personal and

professional. Work and social interactions are increasingly collaborative.

Authoritarian approaches no longer work. The bride’s reciting the traditional

matrimonial ritual of promising to obey the husband is rarely heard. Compliance

is out; collaboration is in. And this requires new ways of dealing with others.

The overriding characteristic of the 19th and 20th centuries revolved around who

made the decision. Similarly, the overriding characteristic of the 21st century

revolves around who makes the decision. A prime difference is that the THE


Too many schools and parents are still using an obedience model – Level C of the

social development hierarchy.

Society has moved to Level D and we as teachers, leaders, and parents have a

responsibility to prepare the younger generation for the society in which they

are now residing.

Below is an example of this preparation.

A Junior High School

Newsletter Article (Emphasis added)

By Joel Hollingsworth, Principal

Selah Junior High School

Selah, Washington

Junior High School is a time for adolescents to make choices, but also to rely

on the guidance and counsel of adults who are important in their lives. At SJHS,



The first two levels are not acceptable at school. ANARCHY is the absence of

order and is characterized by chaos. Next is BULLYING or BOSSING which is

characterized by bothering or bossing others and breaks our standards at school.

The top two levels are both acceptable at school. COOPERATION is when a person

is considerate and complies with requests, but the MOTIVATION IS

EXTERNAL–either from peers or adults.

DEMOCRACY is our goal for all students. This level is characterized by

SELF-DISCIPLINE, INITIATIVE, and displaying RESPONSIBILITY because it is the

right thing to do. A person’s MOTIVATION IS INTERNAL, and this is the highest

level on the social development continuum.

By teaching students what it means to function in a democracy, we believe that

we are supporting students in LEARNING HOW TO MAKE GOOD CHOICES, as well as




Truancy and school dropouts

are an increasing problem for schools and school districts.

Last month I gave a keynote in Baltimore to personnel involved in this arena. I

opened with a story from an experience Dr. William Glasser once told me he had

encountered while working with incarcerated girls.

INCIDENT: It was the girl’s first day at the youth facility. She was called for


The teenager would not make her bed. It was a rule that beds were to be made

before breakfast. The housemother reminded the girl of the rule. The girl called

the adult every name in the book and refused to make her bed.

QUESTION: At this presentation, I asked the 300 counselors, psychologists,

social workers, truant officers, administrators, police officers, and others in

attendance how any of them would have handled the situation.

No suggestions were forthcoming.

HOW THE SITUATION WAS RESOLVED: Here is what the housemother did using a


She gathered her charges around her and said, “You know what is going on here.

Who is going to volunteer to go to her bedroom and help her out?”

One of the girls volunteered.

When the volunteer reached the new girl, the volunteer said, “We know what you

are trying to do here. Every one of us was just like you when we first arrived.”

The volunteer continued, “Making the bad is no big deal. I’ll do it, and then we

can go to breakfast. The other girls want to meet you.”

What do you think the new girl did when she saw her bed being made by another


Correct! The new girl helped the volunteer make her bed, and they went to

breakfast together.

MORAL: Before deciding on a solution to a challenge of promoting responsibility,

ask yourself if your approach will be interpreted as authoritarian. Expect

resistance if you


Using a little creativity to employ a noncoercive approach will reduce stress

and increase your chances of achieving your objective.


You don’t necessarily like

someone because who the person is; you like the person because of the person’s

effect on you. Bennett Cerf, the well-known wit and much invited guest, once

said that if you desire to be invited back, rather than saying, “What a

wonderful party,” instead

comment, “You were a most gracious host.”


The first sentence of the

previous section bears repeating:

You don’t necessarily like someone because who the person is; you like the

person because of the person’s effect on you.

Following are three questions which any parent can ask–or any teacher can ask

students to record in a diary or share in a class meeting.

1. What did you learn this week that’s valuable enough for a lifetime?

(Remember: we find what we look for.)

2. Do you have an issue, problem, or a concern you would like to discuss?

3. What do you feel good about or proud of that you’ve done this week?

(Note: If you are a parent asking a BOY, don’t expect him to open up by just

engaging in conversation. Get him involved in some activity (walking qualifies)

before engaging in such talk.)


Elicit and discuss examples

validating the following statement:

“Effort becomes a reward, not just a way to a reward.”

Have students draw from their personal experiences where exerting effort became

as much if not more satisfying than being given a compliment or some tangible


(Note: the purpose is not to lesson the importance of external acknowledgments

but rather to demonstrate that external receivings are not nearly so satisfying

as exerting effort to achieve a goal or to do that which is right.)

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This has been my most challenging year of teaching ever. I have been at the end

of my rope many times. I have looked all year for something new to help me and

my students. I was very excited to learn about your ideas at the IRA

(International Reading Association) convention. I know good

classroom management begins on day one, but do you have any survival tips for

the end of year? I really want to end the year positively so that we all feel

good on the last day. It seems impossible as the problems have been worsening

all year–everything from no supplies and tardiness to flat refusal to follow

even simple directions like, “Please come here.” I would be so grateful for even

one idea that would make my classroom a better learning environment.”


I would not say, “Please come here.” In the situation you

described, students may interpret it as demeaning in front

of their peers. Instead, go over to the student and say,

“Don’t worry what will happen later. We’ll talk about it

after class.”

When it comes to changing

behavior, not knowing what will happen is far more effective than knowing what

will happen. Young people (really, most people) have a difficult time handling


This statement will

immediately stop the misbehavior because it will redirect the student’s

attention. After class or at a quiet moment, elicit a consequence fostered by

the misbehavior, e.g., “Shall we have you call a parent and explain your

behavior?” “Shall we have you report to the principal and have you describe your

level of behavior?” “Or perhaps you have a better idea to control your impulses

next time you get an urge to do something you know you should not do.”

It is never too late to teach procedures or to introduce the hierarchy of social

development. In fact, introducing (or reviewing) the levels can be an excellent

approach to end the year and to prompt reflective thinking over the summer.

Read “A Letter Worth Reading at


You have the right attitude that will carry you far. But you need a system. The

RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM will do it for you–along with next year your

structuring and practicing your procedures so that they become routines to the

point of even becoming rituals.

With good classroom management and THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM as your

discipline and reflective foundations, next year will truly bring the joy that

this wonderful profession

has to offer..

You can share and learn more

about the




Learning a procedure to

respond appropriately to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link