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3 steps to fixing that mistake!

mistakesWe made a mistake – responsible people would do what?  We know that they are going to be accountable to others for being on time, following through with their commitments, and if they make a mistake – do something about it.   Here is the 3 step process we have given our students to showing responsibility for their mistakes:

  1. Admit it
  2. Apologize
  3. Fix it

I asked each student to tell me which of these would be the hardest to do.  Amazingly they were evenly split with each of the steps getting about the same number of votes for being the hardest one to do.  Which one do you think would be the hardest?

Now consider this scenario:  You yelled at a friend when you were tired.  How would you show responsibility?  First you would admit it and that may sound like, “ I was wrong when I yelled at you yesterday.  I feel bad that I acted that way.”  Second you would apologize and that may sound like “ I Am Sorry”, each word sounded out and emphasized the way you would like to make the person understand how you feel.  The third step is ‘Fix It’  –  How would you do that?

Getting this conversation going with your children can help them to see how they can accomplish doing what is required, needed or expected of us.


Dealing with the stress of being criticized

criticismNo one enjoys being wrong or when they make a mistake.  But since we all make mistakes and many times when we are wrong – there is almost always someone around to point them out – getting criticized can be very stressful.

Learning to deal with criticism can be very helpful when it comes to anger management.  Many times the hardest criticism to hear is the one that has a little bit of truth to it or one that we fear is a bit true.  This can be difficult to face and we may become defensive because a nerve has been hit.  Someone may even question our motive for our behavior – and this can really take us off our even keel. In both of these situations if there is any truth to the criticism, it is an opportunity for us to grow, change or modify ourselves – as long as we are able to avoid becoming defensive.   If there is no truth to the criticism we need to remember that there is always going to be someone who has an agenda and is ready to criticize not just us but anybody or anything.   We need to learn to brush it off and not let it affect us.

Learning to deal with the stress of criticism also includes our ability to consider the source of the criticism.  Have you ever noticed that the person who has children who misbehave all the time wants to give parenting advice?, or the guy who is always broke wants to give financial advice?  Consider the source, when those kind of people are being critical.  It never hurts to hear  them out, but to do so and take it personally may become too stressful, resulting in an angry mood.

Finally, be kind to yourself.  Everyone makes mistakes, take responsibility for the mistakes we make by 1. admit them,  2. apologize,  3. see if there is a way of fixing them – but do not beat yourself up over them.  Doing so really takes the stress off.  We begin to view our mistakes as learning experiences and we can do better the next time.

There you have three steps to dealing with criticism that comes from the well intentioned, to those with bad motives to criticizing ourselves.  Thinking about this ahead of time will protect us from losing control of our anger due to criticism.


Finding the strengths of children to ward off bullying

solutionWhen children do not feel safe, it makes it almost impossible for them to learn in the classroom.  While creating a culture of peace is our goal, the day to day situations in the interim must be dealt with by each individual teacher and parent.

With so many children targeted by bullying, we many times have focused on the vulnerabily of certain children.  Are they quiet or reserved, is there a difference with them (glasses, physical, learning etc..) do they have a need to be popular, are they overweight or not good at sports, speech impediment, or may be aggressive toward others?  All of these children are vulnerable to being the target of bullying.

Those same children though have strengths that can be built on that would enable them to be resilient and cope with bullying situations, while the teacher and parents are working on building a culture in the home and classroom that creates a kind and peaceful atmosphere.  When you consider a child who is vulnerable, also ask yourself what their strengths are.  How might they use those strengths, how can we build the child’s resilience?  Then most important is who can be a part of the support network for each of those kids?

It may be certain positive peers who can be there for them.  A guidance counselor or other teacher in the school may be a part of the network.  How can parents be helped to learn how to help their child grow their resilience?  This network around any vulnerable child is the key to reducing the chance that they will become targets or victims of bullying.

While we are doing this with individual children – every classroom and home should consider the 3 step process for changing culture in their community.

  1. Step one is to set the expectations for the behavior and attitude for all in the community.
  2. Step two is to role model what those expectations look like for all others in the community.
  3. Step three is to teach – talk about the expectations on a daily basis.  This is always done when there are no emotions involved.  It should be mirrored by all in the community, every teacher, every parent, every coach on a daily basis.  

These 3 steps will help everyone involve to get a clear picture and develop the peace we all want in our family, schools and community.


Taking on personal responsibility

personal-responsibility1Taking responsibility for ourselves is not just about when we make a mistake. Many times we hear children say after a bad behavior – “He made me do it.” The difference between an adult and a child is that as we mature we begin to realize that we are responsible for our thoughts and behavior. We are who we are because of everything we have done, the way we think and the words we speak. Our life experiences – good and bad – have created us.

Sometimes circumstances are not great at the moment, or we are in the process of changing seasons (age, relationships, financially) and blaming those things never allows us to move forward in our lives. The question we can ask though is what can I do now to get the job done, to keep the commitments I have made to myself and others, learn from my mistakes to make my life and the world a better place.

There is plenty that we cannot change – but we can always recognize what we can do to move forward with our lives. How do we help children learn this skill and attitude?

It comes down to the 3 step process – the same one for changing culture in our family.

  1. Set expectations

  2. Role model what you would like to see

  3. Teach (talk about it) on a regular basis with our children

We are going to make mistakes in this process and on a day to day basis. When we do though, we must admit our mistakes rather than running and hiding from the mistake. Most mistakes can be fixed and doing so or dealing with the consequences sets the example for our children.


Teaching responsibility by being punctual

Deadline-clockIn our quest to be responsible adults and to assist our children to do the same – we have to ask ourselves what does a responsible adult do, what would be a sign that they are responsible?   For me one of the standout qualities is punctuality .  Maybe that comes from being an employer for the past 34 years or maybe it was something that my own parents were very insistent on.  For an example, I remember having arranged for a ride to an event as a child and my parents not only insistent on being ready – but also be sitting at the window watching for the ride to arrive.

Everyone appreciates the punctual person.   Employers for sure, but employees too – especially if they work at a job like a fireman who is dependent on the relief shift to be on time or they cannot leave their post.   In addition though parents and teachers appreciate it when chores or assignments are completed when they are assigned on time.  Who has ever been in an audience when a speaker was late arriving or worst did not stop talking when their time was up.

How do we build that quality of punctuality into who we are?  

We may have to admit first that we need to work on this trait.  Many believe that if they are just a couple of minutes late it is not a big deal.  As one instructor said to me, 10 minutes before the appointed time is on time, being on the dot is late.  Imagine how much time is lost in the workforce when people “start work” at 10 by arriving and then fixing their coffee, having a bit of breakfast, say hi to their workmates and then sit down to do what they were hired to do?  Even if you got all of that done in 12 minutes – that is one hour a week or 52 hours a year more than a full week of work.

That attitude is not respectful of those around you.  It says to others, “You can wait for me, because I am more important than you.”   This sort of attitude hurts everyone in line with you on a project, with others waiting for your part to be complete so they can finish their part and pass it on to the next person to contribute their part.

Being on time for whatever the event or the assignment is most of the time requires that we demonstrate self control and be realistic about the time it will take to complete a task.  Allowing many things to be started or not started on time can make the difference on the deadline we might have.  Controlling our own desire to start something new or put off preparation will help us to be on time for other commitments.

Even more difficult for many of us is the ability to be real about how long it will take to complete a given part of the project.   Almost every task we attempt may involve more time, research or have its own interruptions that delays our being punctual.

Teaching children to be punctual is done in our 3 step process.

  1. Establish punctuality as an expectation, a core value or at least a part of our requirement to demonstrate responsibility.
  2. Role model this character trait for our children
  3. Teach our children with establishing routines with them of preparation, (getting ready for school, ready for bed,  departing ahead of the minimum) and insisting on it around the home.

Doing these things is a great start in teaching our children to be responsible (doing what is required, needed or expected of us) adults.