What a great poster from Little Hearts / Gentle Parenting Resources! It makes essential points in a very small amount of space. Some of you may have seen the poster on Facebook, but I wanted to share it with the rest of you who may not have seen it. I have done some exploring on the Little Hearts website, from whence the poster originated, and I am impressed with what is being said and how it is being said. For those of you who are parents, you can check out the website for yourself at –
The Little Hearts message is so choice theory, yet I didn’t see any evidence of a connection with Glasser or any of his material. For a second, I wondered how the site could be so choice theory, yet not have any choice theory background. Then, of course, I am reminded that effective ideas can be discovered from many angles, by many different people, in many different locations, and in many different ways. If a certain approach works better, that approach is likely to be found by those searching for a better way.
Glasser’s ideas are an example of this kind of “parallel development.” Even though he was an original thinker, not all of his ideas were original. There were other therapists that placed a high value on a positive, caring relationship with clients, for example, and there were other writers who tried to explain the fallacies of the commonly held views regarding mental illness. Each of them, Glasser included, came at their ideas from their own unique perspectives. The upcoming Glasser biography will say more about this kind of parallel development.
I did a Soul Shapers 1 workshop last week at Milo Adventist Academy in southern Oregon. Along with the staff from Milo there were teachers from four other schools in the Oregon Conference also in attendance. I was blessed by the experience in several ways. One of the blessings came from making new friends. Choice theory has a way of opening doors to deeper, more personal discussions, and while I didn’t know many of the staff before the week started, I feel that I made some very good friends by the time the week ended. Another blessing came in the form of their good questions. They truly wanted to understand how choice theory could be applied in their lives, personally and professionally. As a result, I have been thinking about some of those questions ever since. I hope to stay in touch with Milo over the coming school year. Maybe technology can help us with that.
The 2013/2014 school year is about to begin. (At least that is the schedule for schools located on west coast of the U.S., from where I am writing.) As a teacher your physical, emotional, and mental “clocks” are probably counting down to the first days of school. Some of you are literally in final countdown mode as you process how many hours you have left compared to the To-Do list of what you still need to accomplish. Even for veterans this can be an intense time as you try to get everything done that needs to be done.
For those wanting choice theory concepts to have a greater presence in their classrooms, just remember that “Structure is our friend.” The opposite of boss-management is not lead-management. The opposite of boss-management is laissez-faire, or the lack of structure or guidance at all. On this continuum, with over-control on one end and no control on the other end, lead-management comes somewhere in between. A lead manager very much wants elements of appropriate and helpful structure to be in place. It is especially helpful when classroom Procedures are identified, clearly described, and then rehearsed as a class. Procedures help classrooms run smoothly. It is also helpful when the classroom rules, the behaviors — e.g. – disrespect toward the teacher or classmates, bullying, dishonesty — that are never acceptable are also clearly outlined, along with a description of the natural consequences that come after breaking a rule. Too many people wrongly assume that choice theory means that kids can apparently do whatever they want. Not true at all. What is true is that lead-managers want to create need-satisfying classrooms in which discipline is not an issue. And if a rule is broken, lead-managers want to lovingly confront the behavior and help the student to make a plan for its correction.
Structure is our friend.
I would love to hear from you regarding ways in which you are keeping choice theory elements in mind for the coming school year – either as a teacher or a parent. Take a moment and share an example of how choice theory is going to affect your classroom or your home.