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Showing posts from December, 2014

Are You Raising Applause Seekers?

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I believe in praising the good works of young people.  I commit "Random Acts of Pride".  I wonder at what point do we cross the line and create adults who require the praise of others?  We all know them – adults who need others to approve of their lives and acknowledge their actions.  Why didn't they integrate a feeling of pride that would lead them to be more self-confident adults?
Little children love when you clap for them.  My niece, who is 1 ½ years old, plays a game.  She jumps on her mother’s lap and then applauds so we will all applaud with her.  She looks around the room to make sure we are all clapping and we do.  I've seen adults do a grown up version of this.  They state something about themselves and then look around the room to see the reaction.  They hope for the same thing that my niece does – a room full of acknowledgement.  I hope someday that my niece takes a giant, fun leap in her life and feels that applause without needing it from us.  I hope s…

The December Opportunity

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I was recently on a trip to Washington, DC with a wonderful group of 10th graders.  After seeing the Christmas tree in the hotel lobby, one of the students said that he always wanted a Chanukah bush.  I told the student that you can respect and enjoy the beauty of other people’s traditions without having to make it your own.  On the same day, my colleagues showed me an article about a product being marketed to Jewish families that is very similar to one sold for those that celebrate Christmas.  Then, I walked into a store and saw blue and silver garland on the small shelf of Chanukah items.  When I was standing there, a woman walked over and said, “Isn't it great that our kids aren't left out anymore?”  No.  They were never left out.   It isn't their tradition.  We have beautiful traditions of our own. 
Why is there such a need to ensure that our children have everything that everyone else does?  It is so powerful that we cannot even stick to our own religious traditions…

It’s Time To Abolish Time Out

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Three generations ago, adults said, “Children should be seen and not heard.”  The next generation knew better.  Two generations ago, spanking was more universally viewed as an acceptable means of punishment.  The next generation knew better.  One generation ago, time out was seen as the solution to unacceptable behavior.  Today, we know better.  Time out – sending children to be isolated – teaches the wrong lessons.  It is time to abolish it. When we send children to time out, we do teach them.  We teach them that when things don’t go well, you go away from me.  When things get emotional, you will be isolated.  We teach children that we do not want to deal with them because we have sent them away.  Is it any wonder that when our children are teens and we want them to tell us what is wrong, they go to their rooms?  We taught them to do that.
Time out is not a logical consequence for any action.  It is not specific to the inappropriate event.  It may stamp out behavior for now but, in …