As with virtually all the topics brought to our Loose Blogger Consortium for Friday writing, this one can be approached from so many angles. Who knows what Delirious of Life on a Limb had in mind when she brought it up – although, a clue might be in what she writes on it today! – but the beauty of it all is that each topic has no “right” answer or theme. That is why I encourage you to look at the clickable list on the right of Consortium members and see what they wrote. After reading my delightful piece, of course.
My father was a truly excellent school principal. One of the hallmarks of his ability was his easy mastery of discipline with his students, something that those who have it make look SOOO easy. So, what was his secret?
I asked him precisely that one day, “Dad, how do you make it look so easy?” His answer was straightforward and simple, “Never attach a consequence to an action that you are unwilling or unable to produce. When kids test you, never fail at this and always deliver the consequence and they accept it as inevitability. Thereafter, you don’t even need to tell them emphatically.”
Alloyed with this was a marvelous instinct and the capacity to come up with the perfect creative response at the right time. For example, when coaching a boy in Jr. High who was a star athlete, the boy was not participating in practice. When Dad asked him why he wasn’t working at it and told him that if he didn’t practice he wouldn’t play, the boy responded, “I‘m not going to practice because I don’t give a $%!+ about practicing.”
Now, this is the point when a lot of educators would go ballistic and try to dominate the boy. Not Dad. He just told the boy that he didn’t either, so the boy may as well just go home. Then he turned and walked away to work with other boys.
Outcome? The boy decided practice wasn’t so bad after all. Easy.