Woburn Advocate March 25, 2010
Gene greeted his audience by thanking for the Woburn School district for stellar work they do in establishing the foundation for learning. He credited Woburn Educators for his selection as the National Educator of the year award he received from the National PTA.
Gene and his family grew up on 40 Chestnut street where his father raised award winning flowers for the Boston Flower Market in the 1940’s .
The beginning of the Discipline seminar Gene asked his audience to repeat the phrase “We work more miracles than disasters as Parents!” he then outlined his comments for the evening stating you will learn 15 programs that you can implement immediately.
The 5 P’s of raising responsible kids included clarifying your Philosophy, Three Predictions about your parenting, a number of Proverbs or truth Axioms as he referred to them in the seminar , closing the seminar with tools to teach children Problem solving
A summary of his comments included :
” Responsibility finds a way Irresponsibility Makes excuses. A quote cited from his popular parenting book the Big “R” Responsibility .Responsibility gives kids the power to evaluate their own situation. Control evaluates everything for them. Parents need to clarify what they need control for so they won’t over control their children. He stressed the importance of helping children summarize the lessons learned from their successes and failures Failure is only a temporary setback to achieving ultimate success. Gene share one of his children’s books “Success is a Fly in the eye of a frog” a Bestselling book on finding your purpose in life! I addressing Fairness he stated ” Fairness is not every child receiving the same thing. It’s meeting every child’s need . There is nothing as unequal as the equal treatment of the unequal!
He cautioned Parents with the concept of Out of our Anger Comes Punishment! Out of our need to raise responsible Children comes problem solving Gene talked about the importance of establishing a set of “talk it over chairs” in your home so kids would know when you invited them to the chairs that there was a problem.
He challenged Parents to use language that children totally understand and stated “Vagueness is the enemy of responsibility”. Eliminate Do Your Best and replace it with do a little bit better today than you did yesterday showing the child and helping them see their progress one day at a time. Gene cited three Predictions that parents could rely on when promoting responsibility
1-” Responsibility aligns you with your child by listing the payoffs of responsibility “You’ll grant more privledges to your children when they demonstrate you can depend on them Gene Taught parents how to use the No & Go chart to keep a record of responsible choices
2-He affirmed the principle and need to see your kids as responsible and use programs that recognize ongoing responsibility (holding up a WBR card that stands for I did it Without Being Reminded” He challenged parents to implement one program after another to celebrate acts of responsibility many described in detail in his best selling book The Big “R” Responsibility .
3-His last prediction he concluded by saying. “Anything you do for your kids they’ll let you.” You don’t learn responsibility by bailing your kids out of the consequences that happen when they make inappropriate choices. Help kids see what they do they do. We have far too many incarcerated people who accept no responsibility and fault everyone but themselves for the poor choices they make.
The third part of the seminar focused on . Proverbs or wise sayings. Gene had his audience filling in many rhyming axioms their parents had taught them and challenged them to use some of the examples used in the parent seminar. i.e.
a. Prices paid for mistakes are far lessthan when you become an adult In other words it might be better for you to reposess a few toys rather than have them have their house reposed when they are an adult Gene further stated adults are over indulging children with stuff then we expect them to become responsibility He stated the need to use language that would create intrinsic rewards rather than rely on extrinsic rewards for responsible behavior.
b. Help kids see its to their advantage to have a great relationship with you . stating parents are the one advocate children can trust and rely.
c. Avoid punishment and praise until you discuss appropriate behavior or replacement behavior for the inappropriate behavior “If you rush praise and punishment you make take away the learning”
d. Cultivate responsibility by reinforcing responsibility when you observe responsibility “At best we are all selectively responsible as adults so make your responsibility goals realistic and fair” Let your kids know you are going to be fairer than the world.
e. “If somebody can get your goat, you have a goat to get.”
f. “When it comes to settling disputes its not who’s right it’s what’s right “
g. “You can only be responsible to your children not for your children”
We only have 18 years to give our kids training in responsibility Gene reminded the parents in attendance “your children will be adults much longer than their children. We live only one quarter of our lives as minors.”
Parents commented on how much they enjoyed and learned from the seminar. They stated that the ideas were so practical and portable. Numerous parents commented on the value they could see in Gene’s Self Management program, a series of 11 booklets written to children on the most common problems children face.
A question heard several times following the seminar “When is Gene coming back to Woburn? I learned so much tonight! I wish I would have heard him 10 years ago.
Parents commented how much they valued learning about the energy rule and how they felt it would help their entire family “If you take energy away from the family , you have a responsibility to give energy back to the family”A rule that’s formulated and based on Restorative Justice