Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – October 2002

Volume 2 Number 10


  1.  Welcome
  2.  Promoting Responsibility
  3.  Increasing Effectiveness
  4.  Improving Relationships
  6.  Your Questions Answered
  7.  Teachers.net: PROMOTING LEARNING
  8. GIVEN NAMES – When NOT to Use Them and when TO Use Them
  9.  Discipline Chat Room for Teachers
  10.  What Robert Danzig, former President of Hearst Newspapers,
        says about the Book:


Someone invariably comments to me after a presentation that my message also should be brought to the business arena.

I have finally decided to take that advice. On September 30, I conducted a workshop on “Communications in the Workplace” to the publishing house of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. The round of applause concluding the interactive training was appreciated. But more important to me was having the opportunity to help others improve communications, become more aware of implicit messages, and improve working relationships.

A speaking link was added to my website this week that contains a list of my speaking topics. A video will soon be added.

If you are a member of a group or association that has speakers, please share the site with them. It may lead to an opportunity for me to personally meet you and discuss my approach in more depth.


She was a vibrant picture of health and an inspiring speaker. The audience was stunned to see a slide of her when she was morbidly obese. She had lost 125 pounds and spoke about how diet and exercise saved her life.

The question was asked what she did when she wanted to go off her diet and when she didn’t feel like exercising.

She described her 15-Minute Rule. She explained that when she had a craving for something that she knew she shouldn’t eat, she told herself, “I CAN eat that, but I will wait 15 minutes.”

Invariably something happened in those 15 minutes that got her mind off food.

She would make a phone call, check her e-mail, write a note, or get involved in some activity. Sometimes, without getting involved in another activity, the craving went away on its own.

Whenever she didn’t want to work out, she conducted a little negotiation with herself. She told herself that she would work out for 15 minutes and then renegotiate. Ten percent of the time, she walked out of the gym after the 15 minutes. Ninety per cent of the time, however, the 15 minutes of activity broke down her resistance and she continued her full work-out session.

So, for more responsible behavior, the next time you have a craving or are not doing something you know you should, try the 15-Minute Rule.


The late Norman Vincent Peale once said, “There is only one group of people who do not have problems, and they are all dead.

Problems are a sign of life, so the more problems you have, the more alive your are.”

Although a tongue-in-cheek philosophy of life, there is some truth to this pronouncement. Some people have relationship problems, others financial, some career, others health, some social, others business. No one is immune to problems in life.

Problems are not positive or negative. In a sense they are neutral depending upon how you choose to see them and your responses to them. Epictetus made the point more than 2,000 years ago: “People are disturbed not by events but by their view of them.”

The key is to realize that problems are part of life. Winners in the life cycle accept adversities as catalysts to becoming better, stronger, wiser, and more aware of the realities of life.

If your take a positive approach and view problems as CHALLENGES, your inner chat changes–bringing you the opportunity to get a clearer vision of how to deal with them.

You will also feel in control–rather than feel like a victim. And your effectiveness will increase as you do.


The willow tree bends with the wind; it is flexible and flowing. The oak tree is rigid, hard, stiff, and inflexible.

During a storm, the willow stays intact while the oak looses branches. This is an important concept in life–especially regarding relationships and our health. Being rigid and inflexible seldom brings about optimal results for all concerned.

5. Implementing the RAISE

Each time you coerce someone into doing something

by using your power of authority, you deprive

that person of an opportunity to become more responsible.

With over 10,000 books sold, the number of people using the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM continues to increase. The e-mails I receive indicating success with the system is truly satisfying. Therefore to assist people’s implementation, on occasion I will address a question received on the topic.


Marv, the counselors at my school have requested time at their counselors meeting next month to present something about your “Raise Responsibility System”. They have been in my presentations and are implementing it this year in their counseling sessions with the classes. They are VERY excited about it and have already realized success. They are meeting with me to discuss their presentation. I have requested that they wait until I have contacted you to find out what you want said and how much. I explained to them that I had received permission to present here in our school. However, I do not think it is fair to you for them to try to teach what they are doing with it in their classrooms unless they have permission and direction from you. Please send me your thoughts about this presentation. It would be a great venue for them to at least spread the word and direct people to you and your website. Also, the district leaders will be there, including the superintendent and assistants.

Thanks for any responses you may have.


The reason that I have not placed a service mark (trademark or registered mark) after the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM is that some people would think that they cannot use it without permission.

My desire is to have as many people exposed to actuating responsible behavior through internal motivation as possible. Some will truly “get it”–that the keys are:

(1) being positive with students,

(2) letting them know that to learn or not to learn is their choice–that you won’t force learning because you can’t,

(3) that the most effective route to change is through self-evaluation and reflection,

(4) that only acceptable levels of behavior are allowed–levels C & D,

(5) that the way to have people change is through a noncoercive approach by prompting them to reflect on the level of their chosen behavior, and

(6) when students act on an inappropriate level of A or B, it is far more effective to

ELICIT an activity from them so they have ownership–rather than to impose punishment which promotes victimhood thinking and adversarial relationships.

Some people will take parts of the system and think they have the whole. But this may be better than not encouraging them to start.

My recommendation is to encourage people to use the approach but also for them to understand they are not really using the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM unless they implement ALL of it. And this means teaching the levels of social development, posting them in a hierarchical order, and using its vocabulary–such as, “Corey is demonstrating level D behavior” vs. “I like the way Corey is standing.” (The first example acknowledges taking initiative using INTERNAL MOTIVATION of doing the right thing, whereas the second statement encourages EXTERNAL MOTIVATION of doing it to please the teacher.)

This also means honing the skill of asking reflective questions in a noncoercive tone of voice and with corresponding kinesics (non-aggressive body stance and gestures).

And it means ELICITING an activity from the student to help the student from repeating an inappropriate behavior. This often means assisting the student develop a procedure for responding to his impulses.



I hope you can help me with my strong-willed daughter. She is very bright and got herself into some difficulties by not wanting to obey her first grade teacher.


Explain to the teacher that your daughter is extremely independent and that the teacher will have more success–and reduce stress on everyone’s part–if the teacher aims at EMPOWERING your daughter, instead of overpowering her in attempts to get her to obey.

Encourage the teacher to talk in positive terms and use a phrase such as, “I know you can do this because I have seen how capable you are.”

If you daughter is empowered, obedience will come as a natural by-product.


   GIVEN NAMES – When NOT to Use Them and when TO Use Them

My PROMOTING LEARNING article on <teachers.net/gazette> for this month is about the use of given names: when to use them and when not to use them. If you are “put off” by someone who calls you by your given name, rather than your preferred name, you will enjoy the article.

The article is at: http://teachers.net/gazette/OCT02/marshall.html

8. Discipline Chat Room
for Teachers

This month’s chat room on discipline will be held on Wednesday, October 30 (last Wednesday of the month) from 5:00 p.m. -6:00 Pacific Time at

Although I will answer any questions on discipline, the first few minutes will be devoted to the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM.

9. What Robert Danzig,

former President of Hearst Newspapers, says about the Book:


“This timely work is on the mark in providing rich, practical tools for every reader. Each chapter opens doors to fresh insights and pragmatic road maps.”

—Robert Danzig, Former President Hearst Newspapers