We are aware – Now we need to change

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In NJ there has been an incident of hazing that has rocked the community.  There are still some on both sides of the story, some accepting it as a part of ‘team’, and some still afraid to speak out openly.  Here is our take on this situation.

Hazing is bullying.  Bullying is abuse and while it is good to hear that it is being recognized as such, the idea that the students in this latest incident “tolerated and in general accepted” this culture and behaviors – it tells us that is was also tolerated and accepted by the adults in the school.

At this point those who have been targeted with the hazing are still afraid to voice their grievances out loud.  On Sunday night this particular community is gathering for an anti-bullying community event to raise awareness in the community and “to help in the healing process”.   Here is my take on this:

We are already aware.

We are aware that bullying in not acceptable.  No one thinks it is an acceptable behavior, especially when it is happening to them or to their child.  Generally very few people have stepped up to change anything until there is a major incident like this one that has affected them personally.

We are awareWe are aware.
There are enough posters.  
There are enough sayings.
There are enough laws and rules.  

What we have not done is change culture.  Until we change the culture in our schools, with everyone – parents, administrators, teachers, students – we will continue to have these kind of incidents.  All of us determined to create a culture of peace in our schools and  communities can be very powerful

Life Skills: Teamwork – The Value of Contributing to “The Team”

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Teaching character and life skills to students

Each one of us bring something special to the team that we are on.  Even on our most important team, the family, not all of us are going to be good at all things.  On every team there will those who play the role of encourager, compromiser, leader, clarifier, idea person, evaluator and recorder.

On small teams like your family, some may take on several roles as the team works towards a goal.  But the point is that one person should not need to take on all of the roles, because everyone can contribute something.  As a brief review let’s look at the different roles that can be played out on a team.

Encourager is the person who cheers the group on and finds ways to energize the group when motivation gets low.
Compromiser works on keeping the group harmonized.  They make sure that many in the group are heard and understood.
Leaders who must be careful not to dominate the group, while at the same time keeping them focused and on track to reach the goals of the group.
Clarifier is the person who can summarize where the group is at this time and looks to make sure the group reaches a consensus.
Idea person sees the big picture and is full of creative ways of getting there, while they may not be too good on the details.
Evaluator is the person who likes to think things over and does not reach a quick decision.  They will suggest and encourage looking at goals and solutions from different viewpoints.
Recorder is the person who loves to take the notes at a meeting and helps keep things moving, on time and schedule.

How can you contribute with your best?  Can you take on greater responsibility on a team?  In the family we can train our children to take on different roles as they work on seeing what they are the best at and how to use all of these skills.  It may start with simple day to day plans and later as they get older, having them help with vacation plans and other family goals.

Being on a team is important to our children feeling like they belong.  Belonging to a group is key to building their confidence which in turn will affect their ability to lead.  They will be less likely to succumb to bullying behavior and to stand up for others who are being picked on.  Teaching teamwork at home builds happy family units, stronger students and future adults.

Life Skills: Teamwork Spells Success for Families

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Teaching character and life skills to students

“A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of the others.” –Norman Shidle

I thought this was an interesting quote, especially when dealing with the family unit.  If we want our family to work as a team, there are steps to take first to ensure that everyone can be sure of themselves and the role that they play in the task at hand.

First, all members of the family need to have a clear vision of the end result and to see how it will benefit them and the rest of the ‘team’.  Then they must realize that the part they have been asked to perform or they have accepted to do is an integral part of the whole picture.  Helping them to believe that they are important and responsible for a key part of the big picture.

Being sure that each team member is capable of or been trained for their task will help to keep them focused and not get discouraged prior to the completion of the task.  Especially with children, we may believe that they know something that they have not mastered yet, and they may get discouraged.

Make sure the whole team knows what the end results will look like and keep them on track by developing a spirit of cooperation.  It may be that you will work together on a portion of the project – and be willing to praise the younger member for the contribution they are making.  If there are any complaints, be sure to address them quickly and work to keep the mood light and encouraging the entire time.  In the end reward your ‘team’ with praise for a job well done and with a special treat of something that they consider ‘great’.

These steps will help us for work that needs to be done in the garden or in the house.  They will help the entire family focus on what is important to your family in education, spirituality, vacations or work in the community.

Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Creating a Vision for our Family

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A series of post's on leadership in the familyThroughout history in the business world we have seen some great partnerships.  Many times one partner was the visionary and the other one was the nuts and bolts person / investor – who knew how to get things done and make things happen.  Nonetheless as you look at this list we can be sure of one thing – together they had a vision that they agreed on and they could all see exactly what they wanted to accomplish.

  • Thomas Edison & J.P. Morgan & Vanderbilts  (commercial power companies)
  • Wright Brothers (air plane)
  • Sam, Jack, Albert, and Harry Warner (Warner Bro. entertainment)
  • Coco Chanel and Pierre Wertheimer (Perfume and more)
  • Bill Hewlett and David Packard  (computers)
  • Richard and Maurice McDonald (McDonalds)
  • Bill Gates and Paul Allen  (Microsoft)
  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak  (Apple computers)
  • Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield  (ice cream)
  • Amnon Amir, Sefi Vigiser, Arik Vardi, Yair Goldfinger, and Yossi Vardi (instant messaging)
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google)

What a list of history making visionaries and accomplishments!   As parents we Continue reading “Creating a Vision for our Family”

8 Steps to Prevent Bullying in the Classroom for Teachers

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Every teacher has their own classroom management procedures and they no doubt will fit their particular personality.  The skills listed below are very general principles that apply to any method that you may choose and will have beneficial affects on the classroom and the students as well as the teachers morale.

Rearranging the Environment: There are some personalities that should not sit next to each other in a learning environment.  There may be, depending on the age other arrangements that can be made too, like sitting in a circle or huddled up with the teacher that may be affective.  How we line the kids up or transitions in the class can all be looked at to see if there may be another way for them to be done to reduce bullying.

Establishing Clear Classroom Rules: Setting expectations for students is important so there is no doubt in their mind of what their conduct should be in this environment.   Some may choose to have a set of rules and others may have a single principle that they attempt to live by like, “Do unto others……,  In my classroom I use single words.  Respect, Discipline, Control and Focus are my favorite. They can be asked simply by saying “Does that show respect?”

Being Consistent: Consistencies take on two aspects.  The first is, if you have a rule it must apply to all the children.  That does not mean that you are not sensitive to students who may have special needs.  But in a kind manner the rules and the consequences should be meted out equally.  Second is our own behavior.  As instructors we should demonstrate for our students how to treat others with respect.   We must demonstrate the discipline and control we want them to show.  Students will look at our example to see if we bully or not. Continue reading “8 Steps to Prevent Bullying in the Classroom for Teachers”

Parents and Teacher Can Correct the Bully Problem in School and at Home

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Setting ourselves up for success both as parents and a teachers requires first that we recognized the A,B, C’s of both the good and bad behaviors that we want to either change or continue.  Lets look at what that means: