This Is Not How We Do It Here!

Those were the words of a person who was being paid to educate children. I want you to add a harsh tone to those words and increase the decibels; you have a good idea of the incident the student was experiencing. The student was male, had come from a so-called “rough” school to the school where I was a Grade 5 teacher, and he was known to be living in a community of recent immigrants with tropical backgrounds. To some this child was not like the other children.

The entire assembly was silenced; not from the boy’s voice or from the off-key singing. The assembly was shocked by the loud rebuke of the boy; how dare he spoil the National Anthem with his off-key singing! Without a preamble, a taking him aside and courteously inquire into his singing, or anything that a good teacher would do, this teacher humiliated the 11 year old boy who sang off-key in her country. As this student was under my tutorial care, I was informed of the incident and in my style, I decided to allow some time to pass before I spoke to the student who was understandably upset, angry, and in tears.

When this boy was transferred to my school, I was the most likely person, I was told, and that could help this child. Apart from the fact that I have had much success with children of every personality we’ve had, the boy did not look very different from the way I looked and there was very little doubt that any other teacher wanted to have him. I was happy to have him, because I knew what to do and how to deal with so-called difficult children.

I have never forgotten the scene; the anger that was present was palpable. It was a difficult and trying time for everyone and to some degree, there was anticipation for what I would do. Whether I could handle the situation in a winsome manner or not was in the balances. There was no greater task than to bring this situation to a win for the boy, the teacher, the principal, and indeed for the entire school. This was a fairly new school. People got along very well. We came from many schools to this school having worked together before. The camaraderie among the staff was the envy of other schools within the board. We did a lot of extra-curricular activities and students were very proud to be part of our school. But, this was a critical moment and one that could be very telling for everyone concerned.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? If you do, you have an idea of what I was going through at the time. You see, the boy was looking at me for what he wanted to occur. The teacher was looking at me to see what I would say and do and whether I would create a worse situation in the relationship that she had with the boy. The teaching staff did not know what was going to happen; they knew that I was someone who stood for the downtrodden, yes, the mistreated and the downcast. When some children had difficulty sticking to the school rules, I decided that I would sit with them for lunch. To that, a good teacher friend of mine remarked, “that will be some kind of punishment for those children”. The notion was that the children should be punished because they did not behave as expected during the lunch period. I was intended to show that the children could indeed behave. I knew how to invoke good behaviour from the “worst” children. I found the answer was in being kind, respectful, and authentic. Being real with the children and clear in expectations.

To be continued…
That’s all for now. Until next time.

Below is the information to order a copy of my bestselling book which is becoming the talk among parents and students alike.

To be continued…
That’s all for now. Until next time.

Below is the information to order a copy of my bestselling book which is becoming the talk among parents and students alike.


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Be Firm With Your Boy But Kind

One of the things I kept in mind when I dealt with children was to be clear about what I meant or wanted, while at the same time, I remained controlled, calm and kind. I noted that children were little human beings that had feelings and emotions that could be hurt or damaged and that their future depended on the experiences they’ve had over time. I saw situations where children were dealt with in very harsh ways that were really unnecessary. Whatever the point was that authority figures wanted to get over could have been done with kindness. The power plays were often quite evident in the interplay between children and authority figures and I made it a duty not to indulge in that kind of mistreatment of children, mine or other people’s.

I did my Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Toronto, and had an Environmental Science class with professor Bill Andrews. Professor Andrews and I talked often about teacher student relations and I recalled two takeaways that I got from the many conversations that we had. The first was that many teachers gave children a hard time. Now, you may well agree with that. I sure did remember one of my teachers who seemed to take pleasure in calling children embarrassing names as if to shame them. Certainly that’s not why children are sent to school. But, that happens and it should not. However, Professor Andrews said, “We don’t have to join to folks that give children a hard time”. That has never left me to this day. As I work with children in whatever setting, I think of making their lives a joyous and exciting experience. The other thing I got from Professor Andrews was his strategy of making children see my urgency in a request, by using the expression: “right now!” with a slightly raised voice. It worked without fail. It also avoided unpleasant backs and-forth and increasing arguments.

Children in general and boys in particular need to be acknowledged for who they are, what they’ve accomplished — however litter it appears to us, and they need to be encouraged to do the best they can. This must always be done with kindness. When they have to be corrected as often they must, that too must be done in manners that are firm but kind. It can be done and the results will be healthy. There is no worse feeling than a child to think that punishment is always being meted out with very little opportunity for correction. I remember telling many teachers that children should be corrected and criminals should be punished. After all, our little boys, indeed our teenagers need a lot of correction click here they need a lot of guidance. If you were to ask them they will tell you just that, too.

Let’s show our boys the beauty that they possess instead of making them feel that they only produce ugliness. Let’s not judge them simply by what we see externally. We can upgrade our methods of evaluation by recognizing that our boys are not only what we can see or hear about them. What they are deeper than their external attributes. When they speak, we must listen closely and be very slow to comment on what we hear. We must ask clarifying questions and think of the results of what we say. What we say must be filled with assurance, understanding, encouragement, and love. What a difference there will be if we do this for our boys. What a change there will be for them and for us, our communities, our world. For some helpful tips that teachers can use are found in this article, click here.click here

Until next time. Remember to purchase a copy of my bestselling book: DEFEATING THE ENEMY TO YOUR SUCCESS –How to Break Through to a Life of Wealth Creation and Freedom.


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It Feels Like Everybody is Against Me

Have you ever been at a point in your life where you felt that nothing was going right simply because everyone was against you? As irrational as that may seem, the way the feeling is explained by some who felt that way is that it seems that while others around them got a break or two for doing wrong things, they never seem to qualify for a break. One boy said< "that really hurts; it hurts a lot".

The thing is that, unless one has the capacity to empathize with that feeling, there could very easily be the thought that boys who act out because they feel that everyone is against them, are just weaklings who are incapable of coping with the contours of life. They do not have what it takes to survive and that is their problem. Have you ever dismissed someone's behaviour even though you did not know what caused it? I think a lot of us do just that. How often do we take the time to ask the appropriate questions that could better inform our thinking and hence our responses?

I believe that we can all agree that there are people who do not know why they never get breaks. Getting a break is for most people a bid deal. Imagine you were speeding, got stopped by the police who proceeded to walk back to the police vehicle with the seeming intention to write up a ticket. As he returned, you heard, "I'm giving you a break this time, but be careful to drive at the speed limit". Wouldn't your fast beating heart slow down and you breathe a sigh of relief? You can share a positive story with your family and friends, and you would think nicely of the officer. You see, unlike many things, getting a break is a bid deal and when there are those who never seem to have that kind of experience, it can be very frustrating and feel like, "everybody is against them".

I've come across scores of boys who tell me that they don't understand why they always seem to be on the wrong side of authorities, be they parents or teachers, and worse yet, the police. As a school principal, I relished the opportunity to give a child who seemed to be constantly "in trouble" a break. Very often such children took the act of forgiveness as a launching point to exhibit better behaviour. It brings me to the other point of this discussion, the act of forgiveness. To forgive is to take the sting out of any unpleasant experience. Forgiveness benefits both the person receiving forgiveness and the person giving it. Both persons receive a measure of wellness. And to forgive is not letting someone get away with wrong. What is does really is giving the offender a path to wholeness.

What I am saying is that we must invest in forgiveness more than we do condemning. Let's give our boys hope that things will get better. Give them a break here and there. After all, they are in construction and if you realize a construction site, it's really very messy during the building stage. But, when the building is finished, when everything is cleaned up, what a marvelous sight!

There is marvel within our boys. The construction state is often messy, but, let's understand the process and work with them. Stand where they stand. Sit where they sit. Listen to them and hear them out. They have marvelous designs within them. Now it's left for us to lead out those wonderful designs. Let's do it for them and for us.

Until next time. For more ideas to help us train our boy, get a copy of my blueprint for success book: DEFEATING THE ENEMY TO YOUR SUCCESS — How to Break Through to a Life of Wealth Creation and Freedom. Get your copy, now!


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Sir, You Talk to Us!

A few years ago, I signed up to teach summer school with the Toronto District School Board. My students were pursuing their Grade 11 credit. Some of them did not make it in the regular semester, while others were “fast tracking” — getting ahead with additional credits. The opportunity to teach during the summer break was not only lucrative, but, it allowed me to support students who may have fallen to bad times during the regular school semester. I always like the challenge of helping others who experience difficulty.

When students have free time, they often talk about the things that are interesting to them. Things that have profound effects on their lives. The kind of conversations they engage in at this time is usually real to them and they often talk freely, that is, if they know no one who shouldn’t be listening is hearing their heart-felt stories. I was with a group of students during the break and they engaged me in conversation. I did as much as I could to provide candid answers to their questions. Whatever they found in my answers encouraged them to ask questions without relenting. I cannot forget to this day what I saw in the question of one student who asked: “Sir, which school do you teach during the regular semester”? I responded by asking the student why she wanted to know where I taught. She replied, “Because I wish you can teach at my school”. My well prepared response was: “Why should you have me twice, when others have not had me once”! We all laughed. I contemplated the question and realized what students may be missing in their regular schooling.

What I did with all students, no matter their age, was to give them information that could last them a lifetime. To speak to me was to receive some word or encouragement that can be of help now and in the future. I realized that the Grade 11 students that I taught during summer school, these and others, like to hear stories. Stories about life. Stories about real life as a little child, life as a teenager, life as an adult. I recognized that for many teenage students, there is a wonder about the reality of their lives. They seem to wonder if it is okay that they make mistakes. In fact, some of the students told me that their parents appear not to have done anything wrong. They seem not to have made any of the kinds of mistakes that they were making. So, to some extent, they felt like they were “crazy” or that something sinister was happening to them.

Somehow, the way I presented life to them gave them some hope. When they realized that I too, as a teenager, made mistakes, they realized how normal they were. They began to relax and release the stress the suppressed their effort and stall their drive. Yes, they realized that their seeming “crazy” behaviour was very normal behaviour. Their moodiness, their grumpiness, their occasional angry outbursts at friends, teachers, or their parents; had everything to do with the normal course of life. The normal course of growing through the teen years. When a student said to me “Sir, you talk to us”. I wondered if there was a wall between them and their teachers during the regular semester.

talk

You see, more than you know, teenagers want to have conversations. They want to ask questions. In as much as they may suggest to know it all, they are usually longing for grown-ups, indeed, for parents to engage them in conversation. Accept it! Teenagers, what do they know? If they should know anything, from whom would you like them to learn? Certainly not from the streets. You, the parent must step into the gap and communicate with them. There is much to learn at this critical time in their lives. It would be regrettable to let them grow through their teen years without the wisdom of your life experience from which to guide their own. A parent can provide for a child what no other person can give. Make sure you talk with your teenage child or children. You don’t want to say, sometime later, “I wish I had done this or I wish I had done that”. This is the time to determine what you will say 20 years from today, so say it and do so with a lot of love.

Until next time, let’s talk to our teens.
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A Few Parental Impact Tips

I believe that we can all agree that parenting teenagers is not easy. If it were, this would be a happy world with many happy families enjoying the presence of teenage children as they grow into their purpose in life. Sadly though, today’s teenagers are witnessing a variety of incidents across societies that alarm and confuse. They cannot believe that the patterns of adult life is what they must aspire to and they are unclear about what to do in a world that seems to have no sense of a good future. The revelations of bad behaviours among governmental and religious leaders, the erosion of trust among teacher/student relationships, the absence of fathers in the home resulting in mothers being thrust into the role of raising children on their own, and so much more.

So the question for many teenagers becomes a simple: What do we do when there seems to be no moral compass to guide their path? Yet, in the midst of this seeming chaos, there are candles of hope, parents who have avoided many challenges that destroy too many teenagers. They recognize that their actions must always speak louder than their words; that they are better showing what to do and how to live, rather than talking about it or entering into verbal condemning of teenage misdeeds.

As we keep in mind that there is nothing easy about parenting, we can still find some things that develop and nurture good relationships with teenage children. Here’s something that parents find to be very effective — Write a letter to your teenage children. In the letter, say how proud you are of them, how excited you are that they are a part of your family, and how wonderful it is to see how they are planning their future. Speak about the facts of your own teenage life, that it was not without its mistakes. That will undoubtedly take away the false notion that they have to be “perfect”. Too many teenagers are suffering under the burden of trying to live without making mistakes. It is such a needless burden and we need to take it off the backs of teenagers.

Let your teenagers know that you support them 100% in their development and that you are always on the ready to help them with questions that they may have and to provide guidance.

Do not hesitate to tell your teens that you love them. Yes, it seems simple; it might even seem trite, to you, but, the teenagers, word are very powerful. They may not mention it, but they like to know that they are love, they are valued, that you are happy to have them in your family.

Do you really believe that we learn from our mistakes? Yes, you say? Then when you teens make mistakes, do not take out your frustration or disappointment on them. That may be hard to do, but, it is what you must do. What your teen do may be embarrassing, like becoming pregnant or getting another person pregnant. It is not the end of the world, nor, is it the first of its kind. Do you know other people who have made big mistakes, and many of them are not making tremendous contributions to life? Show love in the heart of the mistake. Better not to talk but to embrace and give assurance that you are there to help them through.

Just a few tips to make that change in the life of your teens and vicariously, in your life as well. Love with purpose and passion.

Take a look at this video. It is quite informative.

Remember to purchase a copy of my best selling book for more tips on raising your teenage children, especially your boys.


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Teenagers Said To Face Real Problems

For many parents and their teenage children, a shroud of hopelessness seems to hang over them that constantly remind them of unknown dangers that lie ahead. Their lives are way different from ours when we were their ages — 13 years to 19 years. They have come along at a time when life is undoubtedly complex, unforgiving, and brutal and they are expected to cope with life’s confusing world winds of brokenness in every facet of life. Today’s teenagers face challenges unlike any other in previous time. Because the challenges are different, the solutions are nothing that have ever been known in the lives of parents or professionals.

This period is a most awkward time in teenager’s lives. The challenges not only come from pressure from the outside, but they also come from within the inner circles of their lives — home, school, church, and other social places. Beside the outward intrusions they encounter, they are also forced to cope with the confusion of hormonal changes, puberty, parental, school, and work pressures and the lack of moral and spiritual lessons that ought to come from the adults that affect their lives. Hence, teenagers are often overwhelmed and confused as they face unknown and uncertain prospects.

As a parent of teenage children, can you identify with these challenges that your teens face? Are you also frightened when you imagine the uncertain future the lay ahead? Do you know how to instruct your teens as they prepare or fail to prepare for the future? Do you know where you can find help or support? There are many parents who have thrown up their hands in helpless expressions of their inability to deal with these challenges.

One of the bigger problems is the absence of one or more parents in the life of individual teenagers. That absence can have a devastating effect on the child both physically and psychologically. Imagine a teen being with other teens who talk about their parents in their lives if one or both of your parents is absent. Do you know any teens in that situation? Is your teens in that situation and if so, how do you handle it?

The one thing that must be part of any solutions that deal with teenage challenges is the capacity to understand them and to listen to their conversations. Teens need to be encouraged to express how they feel without judgement, put-downs, scolding, verbal abuse (telling them that they are awful, bad, or any such thing). After all, the teens are suffering. They are not acting. What they feel is real and they must be treated with care and understanding. If care is not taken, the consequences may be stress, depression, pregnancy, abuse, or other cruelty.

We have much work to do about the problems of teenagers. Let us begin by encouraging conversation and let us listen, understand, and show love.

Until next time, let’s help our children.


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Your Boys Hear What They See

 

Have you noticed that what you do is so loud that it overpowers what you say? It’s similar to the proverbial saying: “what you do is more powerful than what you say”. Children in general and boys in particular notice the power in our actions over than the sound in our words. When you tell a boy not to do something that you, yourself do, the boy does not hear anything you say as his eyes are fixed on your actions. That being the case, our boys are more likely to imitate us rather than to listen to us.

If you can agree with my earlier discussion, can you see yourself in your boy’s behaviours? Is it really true then: “Like father, like son”. What do you say if your son does exactly what you do? You should correct him quickly and unequivocally. But is that all you will do? Will you also make a decision to change the way you act, especially when he is in your presence? If you are tardy, would you be offended by your boy’s tardiness? If you do not help in the home, will you scold your boy for not helping with chores? Every bit that we do to help our boys will produce huge rewards. So, I say, let’s show them how we want them to act rather than constantly telling them. Let them be able to say, “I see you” rather than “I hear you”.

I see you

Does your boy see you taking time to read books? Does he see you taking time to be with him, and depending on his age, does he notice that his dad leaves everything to play with him? Many times, our boys don’t need too many things from us as much as they need our time. If you work hard for your children; leaving home before they wake in the morning and coming back home after they have gone to bed, do you think that your children will love you more for that than they would if you were physically with them? Although your children need you to bring home the bacon and to ensure that a roof is over their heads and clothes on their backs, they would happily accept less food, less clothes and a leaky roof if their dad is physically with them.

So, here’s the deal. Spend time talking to your children, especially your boy(s). Find out all you can about their lives. Teach them what they need to know or others will and you may not like what they learn from others. Decide to show your children how to do something, rather than telling them how to do it. A Chinese proverb speaks to this approach:

I hear, and I forget; I see, and I remember; I do, and I understand.

Spend time reading with your boy — that way, he may come to like reading (stop telling him to “go to read”. Read with him — you a paragraph and he the other paragraph< and so on). Go bicycle riding with him, go to the park with him, and take him to work with you (never mind it’s a low paying job — as long as it’s legal). Your boy will become what he sees in his parents, especially his dad.

Knowing what you now know, how will you change the way you deal with your boy(s)? A good time to make a change for yourself, your boy, your community, and the world.

Until next time, let’s make a positive change for life.

Remember to buy a copy of my book. Will get it to you quickly or you can obtain a copy from Amazon. A good gift for Christmas. Every young person should read this book.

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