Stickers The original publication was written to help parents communicate with children. The following selection is a group of stories that would have special application to teachers. The theme of the book said that readers had to make and attach a sticker with the title in a meaningful place and apply the idea on a consistent basis.
1. No Condescending Allowed “The image of your past was more of a wish for your teen than a real memory.” Parenting Teens with Love and Logic One of the top turnoffs for teens is a person with a condescending attitude.No matter what the teen may have done,he or she cannot stand to be faced with being looked down upon by a person he or she knows is not perfect.(If you are perfect,throw this book away right now and pay somebody else to raise your teenager.) The best way to avoid this attitude is to look at your own childhood and realize that certain events are going to occur in your child ’s life just as they happened in yours.That is, unless you were raised by nuns in a convent. Let ’s take theft as an example.Many parents stole something as a teenager.My experience with theft is still a vivid memory.When I was twelve,my buddies got into stealing.They raided milk trucks and sucked soda pop from the old horizontal pop machines.One of my more daring friends even stole a beer from his grandmother ’s garage and shared it with all seven of us.One day at lunch,it was my turn to produce some thievery,or I was to start finding a new group of friends who wore skirts.We journeyed to the old Twenty-third Street market,and,as my friends occupied the eighty-year-old owner,I went to the back of the store to make my move.In a panic,I grabbed the first available item and headed in a blind run for Reservoir Hill.My friends ’ anticipation of a treat of chips,cookies,or pop was soon replaced by laughter as I produced a jar of Easy Off oven cleaner with brush I was admitted to the group,but,even today,I am teased. The good news is these events are predictable.They have been a rite of passage since time began.Although parents must take firm,consistent action,they shouldn ’t talk down to their kids. 12 How to avoid condescension 1.Complete the “No Condescending Worksheet ” for a review of your teen years..When these “situations ” occur with your teen,,let the worksheet temper your actions by remembering what you were like. 2.If you have a free evening,rent the movie,Sandlot In addition to an enjoyable evening,the “tobacco on the tilt-a-whirl scene ” will remind you of some of the “situations ” in your youth..Though some of the characters ’ problems are very serious,their reactions reflect those of typical teens. 3.Borrow a great idea from C.Knight Aldrich ’s book Bringing The Best Out of People If your child steals,don ’t call him a thief.React in a manner that says,“You are better
than this.You are a good child and you know that this is wrong and it won ’t happen again.” 4.Make sure discipline is private whenever possible.I have never seen a “public discipline ” that improved a situation..The resulting embarrassment leads to “face saving ” behaviors. 5.Always explain why you feel the action was wrong.Try to use examples from your teen ’s world since what can seem obvious indiscretion to an adult may seem acceptable to a teen. 6.Show your teen in some form that your love is unconditional.You expect better,but you love them no matter what they have done.Separate the action from the person. 7.No matter how many times you discipline a child,always avoid humiliating them. 8.If it would help the situation,it never hurts to make connections by sharing the fact that you had many of the same problems.
“NO CONDESCENSION” WORKSHEET “When you point a finger, three come back.” INSTRUCTIONS: Give yourself one point for EVERY time you were involved in any of the following during ages 13 -19.
Rebellious Behavior Theft Cheating Skipping School “Legal ” Drugs ((wine,beer,booze) Illegal Drugs (i.e.,pot) Illegal Hard Drugs (LSD,Cocaine) Premarital Sex Fighting Leaving House At Without Permission
TOTAL ____________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________
Number of Times (Ages 13-19) 14 While you are back in your own teen years,reflect on some other questions provided by Tom Mchon in Teen Tips.Apply questions to your teen years,ages 13-19. 1.What was a typical day? 2.Who were your best friends? 3.How did you feel about your parents? 4.Puberty? 5.Recall some memories about learning to drive,drivers test,and other driving experiences. 6.Visualize your school,classrooms,cafeteria. 38
15. Reflection Use these quotes as springboards for thought to conclude this chapter. From Shelter of Each Other:Rebuilding Our Families by Mary Pipher: Good parents used to instill the values of the broader culture; now, they try to teach their children values different from the ones the world teaches. Many people are more worried about their children’s feelings than their behavior. They
want their children to be happy more than they want them to be good. Collective action is not all taking Prozac at the same time. The values that most children grow up with are junk values.....the important things com-passion, self-sacrifice, humor, tolerance, and resiliency are not being taught. From A Tribe Apart by Patricia Hersch: Somehow people keep expecting kids to have a certain belief system or a commitment to certain kinds of values that are not evidenced with any regularity in their environment. From Saving Childhood by Michael and Diane Medved: Television is the enemy of every youngster’s childhood. Now, both adults and children tend to love our crowded agendas in isolation from each other, so no one needs anyone else. These parents crown their kids rulers and take the role of soldiers defending their inviolate king or queen. They define their success as parents by the amount of time their kids are pleased. And they define failure by the count of moments their children whimper or frown. Blaming of kids is about covering up what adults are doing. From What Kids Wish Parents Knew About Parenting by Joe White: Who are the important people in your life? If it is family, are you showing it? If not, what are you going to do about it? As parents, our light may be small compared to the media, but if we keep it close to our children, they will always be able to see it. 39 It’s not how many fish you caught with your son, it’s how much you laughed when the tent started leaking. If your kids aren’t acting like the maturing, lovable creatures they were meant to be, try closing the zoo. Take them away from the constant hustle and bustle of life. How many dying people say I spent too much time with my family? At about age thirteen, parents move out of their fan club and give up on the all American dreams. Yet the kids still need the praise and attention more than ever. The only thing my kids have in common is their last name. Teens are experts on parent weakness and will use it to their benefit. From Parenting Teens With Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Faye: The biggest problem is parents used to tell children what to do; instead, children are telling their parents what to do and they are doing it. The most that adults can do is see that teens have good choices to make and real opportu-nities to gain experience, a generational obligation that we have yet to take seriously. 42
16. I Listened “Adults were paying attention to teenagers because there were so many of them, not because they had anything important to say.” Teens A phrase so easy to say yet so difficult to do.As parents we generally approach
conversations with the attitude that we have the answers and our teens are seeking these solutions.In fact,the reverse is most often the answer.They just want us to listen.They want to talk.They realize that sometimes there isn ’t an answer but talking with someone who listens without too much advice and judgement may help the situation.Yet few teens can remember the last time they had a good talk in which their parents just listened.Use the following tips to help you listen. .As they speak,are you listening or preparing a response? .Six out of ten kids say when they talk about a serious problem with an adult,it helps. .Ask questions that make them think and talk more. • What do you think now?? • Were you surprised?? • What is your plan?? • What will you do now?? • Would you like some help?? .Your first try won ’t make you a perfect listener anymore than it will make them talkers. .You can ’t do two things at once.Are you giving the conversation your full attention? .Reflect on their conversations.What were they really saying?What subtle meaning was behind the words?Create time to think about what your teen is saying.For example,the next time you are in the car alone,turn off the radio and think about what your teen has been saying. 43 .Be curious about what is going on,but don ’t try to control. .It ’s OK to admit that you don ’t have all the answers -who does? .Your teen may not be seeking a solution but only want to share a problem. 47
19. Hoops “Parents are so hurt because they look and don’t see a reflection of themselves in their teens.” (Families On The Faultline) As a kid,my sport was basketball, and the neighborhood ’s best court was my family ’s own backyard.The pole and backboard were made of two-by-fours and plywood “borrowed ” from a local con-struction site.The court ’s dimensions were not perfect or even close.On a windless day, the backboard never moved more than eight inches with each shot,and our bad shots always landed in the strawberry patch (in early June this meant plenty of reddish stains covered the ball). After a heavy rain,I could unleash my unstoppable “mud move ” and score with ease.High school basketball,however,is played on a hard surface,and my only significant game was played on the day the gym ’s roof leaked,and my best move became my trek from the end of the bench to the locker room at halftime for a free drink provided by
the ladies auxiliary. In 1980,when we built our new home,I knew that the double concrete driveway would be the perfect place for the new “Hattman Super Basketball Court.” Even before the first house payment was made,a solid metal pole and fiberglass board with a rim and nylon net was set in place.My son and daughter (who were four and two at the time, respectively)would use the court daily,and our house would be the basketball camp for all of Packard Street.I assumed that my children would love the sport and really appreciate having the court in the driveway.It only seemed “natural ” that giving them what I 48 wanted as a teen would be appreciated even more by my kids because of the improvements over the old mud court of Stella Street. Today,if you were to add all the time the court was used by my kids together,you would be hard pressed to reach a grand total of fifty hours.Every year I stubbornly remove and replace the weather-beaten net and think of this great opportunity my kids are missing.Instead of shooting hoops,I ’m fishing with Mike and playing softball with Kelly and Angela.It took a long while for me to realize that I needed to go with their dreams and interests rather than mine.As parents,we could drastically improve our relationship with our teens if we helped build their dreams rather than imposing our hopes.As stated in Teen Tips,“Realize that your child is not an extension of yourself like an arm or leg;your child is a separate person complete with his/her own talents,passions and dreams.” When you discover your children ’s dreams,consider the following thoughts. .Why do we spend so much time and money worshiping entertainers,actors and athletes?Is it because they seem to be living out their dreams and we never had a chance,or worse yet,have we even discovered our dreams? .Raising a teen isn ’t about having everything under control to create a clone of ourselves. We should control only enough to allow them to become quality adults of their own design. .Teens will change dreams as often as clothing.Relax and help them test each path. If they are going anywhere remotely safe,jump in and be part of their dream. .Anyone can kill a dream.It takes a special person to nurture and promote one that comes from a child. .Why do people like Albert Schweitzer and so many others abruptly change careers? Could it be because they found themselves living out someone else ’s dream and 49 finally started living theirs? .As Zig Ziglar was quoted in the book Bring Out The Best in People,“You can get everything in life you want if you just help enough people get what they want,but it is a fatal error to assume that other people have needs identical to yours.” What about living out a few of your dreams? 52
They Are Only Kids (Part II) “Jon Benet Ramsey’s demise may never be known, but regardless of who murdered the girl, there is little doubt about who murdered her innocence.” Saving Childhood
A few years ago,our Knights of Columbus sent Paul,our financial secretary,on his ultimate dream trip.He was shipped to Notre Dame University in South Bend,Indiana where he met with head football coach Lou Holtz,attended a football practice,dined at the alumni banquet,and viewed a football game from one of Coach Lou ’s special seats.For a man who bleeds green on Saturday afternoons in the fall,life couldn ’t get any better.Upon his return,everyone in the club heard Paul ’s one or two hour rendition of the trek to South Bend. I had met with Paul that week,but wishing to avoid the long version,like the color of the carpet in Lou ’s office or the menu at the alumni dinner,I asked to “keep it short.” I had one question that I chose to ask..The question was “What one item most impressed you on your trip?” Paul answered,,“Bob,those players are only kids.” His reply sparked an hour-long discussion on his observation.Despite all the national fame this team had garnered,it was essentially composed of a bunch of kids.Without the uniforms,you would see a group of sons who belonged to parents,rather than a group of men who belonged to a university. Observe your own family.How many “uniforms ” do you put on your children that cause them to be perceived as miniature adults?Limousines for ninth grade proms? Competition in a year-round sport that ends with a national championship? Whatever our method,we tend to lose sight of the fact that they are in many ways still kids.Place those younger day pictures on the refrigerator.Work with the “adult,” and always remember to nurture the “child ” who still lives inside.. 56
23. Tour Ticket “Parents and teachers maintained that they could predict a teen’s future based on their own experiences.” Teens As a high school principal,I am privileged to experience meeting,talking with, and joining in the educational experiences of foreign exchange students.One fact that continues to echo year after year is that quality communication is difficult between people of different cultures.Many factors contribute to this,but language and ways of thinking are the most prominent. The same is true in the relationship between teenagers and parents,as our “culture ” is different that our child ’s “culture.” As adults,,we often fail to make a serious attempt to understand the world that teenagers are growing up in,and we spend our time trying to make the child fit into our mold of what he or she should be,based on our own culture,or we complain about the world they occupy.Perceptions of teens based on actions at home,impressions gathered from a Friday night outing to the mall,or opinions of other adults are insufficient.To truly understand them,take some time and live in the world of the modern teenagers — study their culture..If you take this expedition,you will end up proud,disgusted,worried,thrilled,bored,concerned,and confused — in short,a teenager.You will have a better understanding of the words found in the book Uncommon Sense that are a part of normal teen life (friends,sexual relations,alcohol, drugs,school,grades,class,issues,economics,worries,racism,spiritual identity,relationships,college,career,AIDS,violence,and the environment). Immersing yourself in the life of a teenager is actually very simple.Attend sev-
eral popular teen movies.Work a volunteer activity with or for the youth.Watch and listen to popular songs and artists.Spend a day in a secondary school as a student.Attend a youth night at your church or YMCA.The possibilities are endless! 57 Completing this challenge with an open mind will increase your ability to communicate with teens and understand their actions.What you see will be different,but understanding will go a long way in improving the teen/parent relationship. Remember understanding is different from agreement.Your value system may have some elements that your teen has yet to develop. If you need a clear example of why you should use your “tour ticket,” it happened September 20,1995,at 7:30 a.m.at Parkersburg Catholic High School.We were ready for a great event (see following explanation),a prayer service in front of the school to publicly show our support for the program and enhance the religious mission of the school.The rain held off,we had twenty students,four teachers,eight parents,a uniformed city police officer,and the county sheriff gather at our flag pole on the front campus.A quality prayer service was completed,and we returned to the building with a feeling of accomplishment.Little did we imagine what people driving by our school thought of two uniformed law officers with a group of teens.The phone started ringing and the rumors were rampant.From a drug bust to a gang fight,there couldn ’t be any other reason for the law and a group of teens to be together!Our meaningful prayer service with teens at their best was perceived as another example of teens at their worst.Maybe if you spend time using your “tour ticket,” you will be able to see the best instead of the worst in the teens ’ world.. On an individual basis with your own teen,try a few of the following: .Listen rather than talk — ask questions about their world without judging their re-sponses. .Participate in any activity that they will share with you.From school fund raisers to learning how to drive,take any offer. .Let friends spend the night.Observe and listen when they come out of their room. 58 Thomas Aquinas,who knew a great deal about education and motivation,once said that when you want to convert a man to your view,you go over to where he is standing,take him by the hand and guide him.That ’s different from standing across the room and shouting at him;you don ’t call him a dummy;you don ’t order him to come over to where you are.You start where he is,and work from that position.That ’s the only way to get him to budge.Make sure the teen in your life is not a stranger.Cross the street and understand his/her world.Bring these worlds closer together.Reflect on Covey ’s thoughts in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families:“And until we gain the capacity to step out of our own autobiography,to set aside our own glasses and really see the world through the eyes of others,we will never be able to build deep,authentic relationships and have the capacity to influence in a positive way.” 69
28. Tweens “Nature launches its creatures at its own pace and it is only human wish for immediate gratification that would interfere.” Teenage Girls
Sometime during the twentieth century,we created a beautiful place for most of our offspring called childhood (ages 0 -12).Freed from child labor,offered universal education and surrounded by loving adults,children learned to laugh,play,and enjoy life. The traits learned in these years would establish basics that would help guide youth through the tumultuous teenage years toward a productive adult life. The problem now is that when we financially have the greatest opportunity to expand and enrich this special period with more play,laughter and enjoyment,we are destroying critical segments,if not the entire period. During the 1960 -70 ’s,companies realized the importance of the Teen market and devised market programs to profit from the age thirteen to twenty group.(Look at the results.)Once this market became saturated,they turned their attention to a new group of children and created the Tweens (ages eight through twelve).Since there were already market players in this arena best represented by toy manufacturers,the new forces chose to make their fortunes by eliminating the “toy ” ((play,fish,enjoy)people and expanding the teen market to the Tweens.The results have been greatly diminished toy sales and eight year olds who look,act and dress like sixteen year olds.Children ’s clothing became a downsized version of teens.Proms with chauffeurs are held in grade schools and junior highs.Television and movies portray children who can take care of themselves or are able to assume adult roles without conflict.Even toys must be educational.The end result is we put kids out of sequence.When children should be learning to play,they are rushed into adult roles. As parents,we need to stand against these pressures and protect all of childhood, 70 especially those under this new attack,the Tweens.We must communicate to our children and all those in their lives that this is a special protected period,and we are going to fight to maintain real childhood. Also,stop and think.Why would anyone rush to create more years of teen life? As they exist now,they are difficult enough.Who needs four more of them? Children Are From Heaven -Quotes to ponder. 1.Many parents push their children to grow up too soon because they want their children to be happy.They don ’t realize this is a skill learned through play during ages seven through fourteen. 2.Dating at ten is developmentally inappropriate because it encourages them to skip the all important chumship stage in which young people learn social skills with peers of the same sex that can extend to peers of the opposite sex. 18
3. Follow the Golden Rule “The law of 26 says every action we take or fail to take has 26 repercussions” (The Shelter Of Each Other) Our youngest daughter plays in one of the best recreational softball programs in my known world.In the league,the coaches never yell at the kids,everyone gets a chance to bat,
basic fundamentals are taught,and both teams go to Spencer Park for “slurpies ” after every game.. The kids play on the swings and the parents socialize.With few exceptions,everyone involved enjoys operating in this low-key mode.One of the few exceptions involves a friend whose daughter is about the size of our team ’s smallest bat.Whenever his daughter approaches the plate to bat,he starts shouting this advice.“Stand closer to the plate,” he yells.. “Keep your elbow up.” “Watch the ball in the pitcher ’s hand.” As you might guess,,the girl stands there watching and listening intently to the father and forgets to swing at the ball. Several weeks into the season,I was standing on the porch of the local golf course clubhouse,while the “advising ” father was on the number one tee playing a league match..As he prepared to strike the ball,I began to yell.“Keep your eye on the ball.” “Don ’t swing too hard.” “Keep your elbow close to your body.” His face immediately began to glow with a red hue, which indicated to me that he got the message and didn ’t care much for it.His drive dribbled about fifty yards off the tee,and he turned and waved part of his hand in my direction. Think about your most recent interactions with your teen.Listen to yourself.Do you operate and abide by the Golden Rule?Think about how you treat your teen.Would you like to be treated in this manner?Over the next few weeks,try to identify situations in which you treat your teen in a manner that you would not appreciate.Work to eliminate these poor interaction methods and improve your communications and don ’t be afraid to admit that you have made a mistake by violating the Golden Rule. 18
3. Follow the Golden Rule “The law of 26 says every action we take or fail to take has 26 repercussions” (The Shelter Of Each Other) Our youngest daughter plays in one of the best recreational softball programs in my known world.In the league,the coaches never yell at the kids,everyone gets a chance to bat, basic fundamentals are taught,and both teams go to Spencer Park for “slurpies ” after every game..
The kids play on the swings and the parents socialize.With few exceptions,everyone involved enjoys operating in this low-key mode.One of the few exceptions involves a friend whose daughter is about the size of our team ’s smallest bat.Whenever his daughter approaches the plate to bat,he starts shouting this advice.“Stand closer to the plate,” he yells.. “Keep your elbow up.” “Watch the ball in the pitcher ’s hand.” As you might guess,,the girl stands there watching and listening intently to the father and forgets to swing at the ball. Several weeks into the season,I was standing on the porch of the local golf course clubhouse,while the “advising ” father was on the number one tee playing a league match..As he prepared to strike the ball,I began to yell.“Keep your eye on the ball.” “Don ’t swing too hard.” “Keep your elbow close to your body.” His face immediately began to glow with a red hue, which indicated to me that he got the message and didn ’t care much for it.His drive dribbled about fifty yards off the tee,and he turned and waved part of his hand in my direction. Think about your most recent interactions with your teen.Listen to yourself.Do you operate and abide by the Golden Rule?Think about how you treat your teen.Would you like to be treated in this manner?Over the next few weeks,try to identify situations in which you treat your teen in a manner that you would not appreciate.Work to eliminate these poor interaction methods and improve your communications and don ’t be afraid to admit that you have made a mistake by violating the Golden Rule. 79
32. Keeping the Past—Present “An idea that a generation of teens had no ties to the past and no hope in the future was frightening.” Teens We all have what is called the “affiliate motive.” We want to belong to a tightly knit group of people — people who accept and are committed to us — a place where we can feel comfortable and know that those around us will be loyal in any circumstance. From the first tribes to modern churches to fraternal clubs or cultural groups, this desire is demonstrated in everyday life. For teens,the family represents the most important satisfaction and greatest frustration for this need.They desperately want the safety and support of a quality family, yet constantly seem to reject those same family members as they strive to gain and maintain control of their own world.
The following story and suggestions are ideas of how you might help create belonging even through the periods of rejection without establishing more rules that in time produce additional rejection.Despite many moans and groans,they have helped my family stay together for three generations. My family was having one of “those ” weeks at home..Bullets were flying,massive retaliation (stickers)were at every turn,and an encouraging word was never heard. One day,as my wife left for work,she grabbed our favorite pre-teen picture of the kids to display on her desk.That night,I asked why she took the picture to work with her.Her answer was simple “I wanted to remember the time when we still liked each other.” That weekend,we set out to improve the living atmosphere in “The Happy Brown House ” ((a name selected by the kids during the “good ol ’ days ”).We rolled out 80 the best ammunition — pictures,,family Christmas tapes,diaries,etc.and attacked with full force.Before anyone was allowed out of the house,we were going to remember the past.Despite their protests that “this is stupid,” we soon began to laugh..As a family,this helped us get things back on track.It also reminded us that we shouldn ’t wait for a crisis to remember the times before the teenage years struck!Used on a regular basis,the past can be an effective tool in improving relations in the present and increasing your immunoglobulin A.*Start today and find opportunities to show your entire family how love flowed freely between parent and child before the teenage years.Here are my top five tips. 1.Pictures, pictures, pictures — On the walls,,in your wallet,on the desks,in the car, by your bed,in the rooms (especially a collage of each child from birth to teen). These are daily reminders of belonging. 2.Create Traditions — Sunday breakfast after church,,Labor Day bike rides,dinner out on birthdays,ice cream shop on report card day,special vacation places,board games.Traditions will often overcome the teen ’s fear of being seen with the family. As Sparkie discovered in A Christmas Vacation things won ’t always be perfect but eventually the idea will get across. 3.French Toast -See the following “French Toast.” It is a really meaningless story that somehow became a tradition for my father to tell at all family events. 4.Turn off the TV and talk about the past -If there is a memorabilia shortage,use the worksheet questions on page 62 from Unlocking the Secrets of your Childhood Memories.Our best times occur when we gather the family and put $30 on the table. 81 Each child and adult receives $2 for a story related to one of these questions on the worksheet. 5.Create one-on-one time -During these special times you can remind your teen of the many times in your life he/she has made you laugh,feel proud and thank God that He sent them into your life. 6.Protect your family rituals as if they were gold -Fine Young Man. 7.Clan Time is more than just Thanksgiving and Christmas -Fine Young Man. *Research by Dr.Carter-Liggett suggests that telling stories bathes the brain in immunoglobulin A and assists in creating biochemical keys that increase memories of these special times.
French Toast “Take back the job of storytelling. Give our kids lots of your own stories and lots of
time with Uncle Pete and Aunt Alice and Grandma & Grandpa and others who will tell the kids stories that took place at home and far away—the stories of life itself.” Fine Young Man 4:30 a.m.A cold wet wind was blowing down out of Oklahoma across Sheppard Field,Texas.All was quiet except for a lone helicopter returning from night training. The silence for Pvt.J.L.Hattman #35599764,who was dreaming of home and family, was rudely broken by the standard Air Force greeting,“Off your dead ___,on to your dying feet.” With this happy greeting,,“G.I.” ((Gout Issue)Hattman quickly washed, dressed,and headed for Mess Hall #2 for his first ever day on K.P.(Kitchen Police.)Reporting to 1st Sgt.Bilko,he was politely assigned to “French Toast.” This was fine as many times he had prepared French Toast for the family at home with no problems.The sight of twenty five-gallon cans of batter and 400 loaves of bread did cause a little apprehension 5:30 a.m.The first sleepy G.I.came into the mess hall and came down the cafeteria line to the French Toast section.Upon taking the order for two slices,Pvt.Hattman picked up the bread with the proper tongs and dipped same into the batter,making sure of 100%cover age.Each piece was then placed on the grille -2 ¢ª minutes on first side,, then turned with spatula for 2 ¢ª minutes on reverse side ((as per manual).The golden brown toast was a thing of beauty.The toast was then placed on Pvt.Callahan ’s glistening tray (a fine polite young chap).After proper thanks and your welcome,our beaming cook was surprised to see 12 G.I.’s from Squadron H waiting for toast.10 were properly served.2 of the 12 seemed in a hurry and skipped french toast.They were possibly anxious to attend Chapel Service before A.M.Drill. The line was now longer.Kicking it into high gear,the operation was repeated, 83 occasionally losing a piece of toast on the floor.Catching his breath,Pvt.Hattman looked up to see Squadron “L ” ((120 men)enter Mess Hall #2.Doubt entered our boy ’s mind as to handling this group,so Pvt.Hattman asked Sgt.Bilko for a hand.(He got a finger instead and was reminded G.I.’s in Anzio would like to have his assignment.)Bedlam now broke loose.G.I.’s were screaming “French Toast.” At this time tongs were tossed aside.Bread as placed between fingers of each hand ,slipped into the batter,and then dealt onto the grille at a speed that would have put a Vegas dealer to shame.Amid many charges of unlikely ancestry and ethnic background,this continued until Sgt.Bilko slammed closed the doors of Mess Hall #2.Waving our hero to pots and pan clean-up, this after serving-line duty was a picnic.Oh yes,Pvt.Callahan next day at drill said it was the best French toast since leaving home. 84
Worksheet Close with activity from Unlocking the Secrets of Your Childhood Memories. Even if you haven ’t saved things,the memories are there if you bring them out. My first childhood memory The first birthday I remember The best vacation I remember The funniest thing I ever saw an adult do A time I was really scared Oops I ’m in trouble My most embarrassing moment as a teen.
33. Something Good Will Happen Today “Strong families find something to appreciate every day and teach their members to wrest beauty from harsh reality.” The Shelter of Each Other The book Summer of ‘49 attributes part of Ted Williams ’ success to his positive attitude.Every day he arrived at the ballpark expecting good things to happen.How much would our relationships with our teens improve if we started every morning expecting something good to happen in the course of the day in our relations with our teen?Remember to be realistic.Ted was one of the best,but his lifetime average was only about one in three;yet he maintained a positive attitude. List items you appreciate about your teen(s): 87
35. Dead Bird “We should let youth work it out. Most things he can work out if we get out of the way and let him. Always show we care.” Fine Young Man One Monday morning,I was presenting the school ’s academic quiz team with free lunch awards for winning a local tournament.Suddenly,a nearly hysterical teacher burst into the office demanding immediate attention and action,screaming “There is a dead bird in my room!” I directed her to return to her room,,replying that I would be there when possible.Not believing this to be a real 911 emergency,I arrived at her room to find that the situation had been handled by several students.They solved the problem without my help. This story has several points that could be applied to relating to teens. 1.The teacher,by leaving them unsupervised,created a greater danger than any bird living or dead could have presented.In reacting to “teen emergencies ” are you creating a more dangerous situation?As a parent you must always be sure an emergency really exists,and that your reaction does not bring about a deeper problem.Don’t create a catastrophe! What would happen if you don ’t act?Give the situation the appropri-ate level of energy. Sometimes the effective solution is to leave the situation alone. 2. The teacher failed to realize that the teens could have solved the problem themselves. Four of her students were dissecting cats;three had gutted squirrel and deer last hunting season,and the remaining eight would have moved road kill if it allowed them to be excused from class.As a parent you need to understand that young people often have the ability to solve their own emergencies,real or imagined.Parents only complicate the situation by becoming an active part of the picture.Never solve a prob-lem for teens that they could solve themselves. 88 These are examples of problems teens can solve: 1.You find your child ’s lunch on the table after he/she has left for school. 2.Coach is not giving your child enough playing time. 3.Your child didn ’t deserve the detention. 4.You run a red light taking your son to the emergency room for a deep cut.
Points to Ponder: •As Robert Coles ’ ((author of The Moral Intelligence of Children son said to him,referring to his driving as they went to the hospital emergency room:“Dad if you ’re not careful,we ’ll make more trouble on our way to getting out of trouble.” •Life already moves too fast for quality relations even when life is normal.What types of damage can we do to relationships when we constantly operate at the increased speed caused by “emergencies.” •Remember that true crises are turning points.The Chinese meaning of the word “crisis ” combines two meanings — danger and opportunity..Recognize the danger but seize the opportunity and make something good come from the situation.Always assess this “crisis rule ” when a dead bird “drops ” into your life.. •As a matter of faith remember that we often find a true relationship with God in difficult times.How will our young ever find him if they never experience any difficulties?Let them use prayer and faith as a solution rather than using Mom and Dad. •If we try to keep them from suffering the pain of adolescence,we put them at the risk of living confused adult lives.Our job is not to save the boy from pain,but rather to guide him through the suffering (Fine Young Man) 89
36. Kind Words (Part I) “We spend time telling kids they are special, but when they reach adolescence, we treat them like undifferentiated mutant blobs.” A Tribe Apart As a teen,my athletic abilities created little notice other than encouraging words from my parents.I had fun in my involvement with sports,but the bench was not really where I wanted to be.Rebounding,scoring,and being featured in the paper was a dream of mine,but not one that became a reality. Fortunately for me,there was a sports reporter in Parkersburg named Jim Snyder — the last of a dying breed..He reported sports in an enjoyable,enthusiastic and interesting manner,rather than trying to create controversy or finding the flaw in every sports hero.One of Jim ’s greatest attributes was the ability to include an unlimited number of young athletes ’ names in his column..Jim ’s writing and my athletic abilities combined for one of the greatest days of my life. Late in the season,we were playing away at Ripley High School.I had just returned to the team after a short suspension for decking our point guard (another story). By the end of the fourth quarter,we were down by the usual twenty plus.Coach,for some reason,decided to put me in the game before the usual last fifteen seconds.With my best friend feeding me the ball,I scored six points with two minutes.Coach put me back on the bench.He was not going to have to explain why he kept old “Mud Move ” Hattman,the scoring machine,on the bench when the team record was 7-13 (or was I out of breath?). The next morning on the sports page,it was there.The bold print read “Ripley Rockets Over PC.” At the end of the write--up was the sentence,“McPhail and Bob Hattman traded six-point splurges.” A less-than-average player ended the day with an all-time high.I had made the sports page!I walked tall! 90
As a teacher,principal and parent,Jim ’s trait has been a tremendous help in my relating with teens.I always try to find a way of putting them “in the headlines.” As a parent,remember that through kind,encouraging words and praise,you can put the teens around you on a natural high and improve communications.Never miss an opportunity to say a kind word to or about a teen. 91
Kind Words (Part II) “There is so little time for adults to know and embrace the younger generation, to guide them with understanding and share moments of their lives.” A Tribe Apart Our younger daughter plays in a Saturday YMCA basketball league.One morning she had a great day and scored twelve points.Later in the day we crossed the river from West Virginia into Ohio to have lunch and buy a gift certificate.On the way out of the restaurant,a then unknown man asked my daughter if she played in the “Y League.” She answered “yes,” and he replied how great a game she had played that day..In the parking lot Angela said,“Wow,I ’m now famous in two states!” Again,,a kind word was spoken,and a young person felt good about herself. As I discovered later,“he ” was the opposing coach and chairperson of a commit-tee to build a local multi-million dollar stadium.His life contained a lot of hard working hours of providing opportunities for youth to feel good about themselves. 89
36. Kind Words (Part I) “We spend time telling kids they are special, but when they reach adolescence, we treat them like undifferentiated mutant blobs.” A Tribe Apart As a teen,my athletic abilities created little notice other than encouraging words from my parents.I had fun in my involvement with sports,but the bench was not really where I wanted to be.Rebounding,scoring,and being featured in the paper was a dream of mine,but not one that became a reality. Fortunately for me,there was a sports reporter in Parkersburg named Jim Snyder — the last of a dying breed..He reported sports in an enjoyable,enthusiastic and interesting manner,rather than trying to create controversy or finding the flaw in every sports hero.One of Jim ’s greatest attributes was the ability to include an unlimited number of young athletes ’ names in his column..Jim ’s writing and my athletic abilities combined for one of the greatest days of my life. Late in the season,we were playing away at Ripley High School.I had just returned to the team after a short suspension for decking our point guard (another story). By the end of the fourth quarter,we were down by the usual twenty plus.Coach,for some reason,decided to put me in the game before the usual last fifteen seconds.With my best friend feeding me the ball,I scored six points with two minutes.Coach put me back on the bench.He was not going to have to explain why he kept old “Mud Move ” Hattman,the scoring machine,on the bench when the team record was 7-13 (or was I out of breath?). The next morning on the sports page,it was there.The bold print read “Ripley Rockets Over PC.” At the end of the write--up was the sentence,“McPhail and Bob
Hattman traded six-point splurges.” A less-than-average player ended the day with an all-time high.I had made the sports page!I walked tall! 90 As a teacher,principal and parent,Jim ’s trait has been a tremendous help in my relating with teens.I always try to find a way of putting them “in the headlines.” As a parent,remember that through kind,encouraging words and praise,you can put the teens around you on a natural high and improve communications.Never miss an opportunity to say a kind word to or about a teen. 91
Kind Words (Part II) “There is so little time for adults to know and embrace the younger generation, to guide them with understanding and share moments of their lives.” A Tribe Apart Our younger daughter plays in a Saturday YMCA basketball league.One morning she had a great day and scored twelve points.Later in the day we crossed the river from West Virginia into Ohio to have lunch and buy a gift certificate.On the way out of the restaurant,a then unknown man asked my daughter if she played in the “Y League.” She answered “yes,” and he replied how great a game she had played that day..In the parking lot Angela said,“Wow,I ’m now famous in two states!” Again,,a kind word was spoken,and a young person felt good about herself. As I discovered later,“he ” was the opposing coach and chairperson of a commit-tee to build a local multi-million dollar stadium.His life contained a lot of hard working hours of providing opportunities for youth to feel good about themselves. 99
41. Look For The Moment “The trick is to make these moments happen and to notice these moments when they happen serendipitously.” The Shelter of Each Other In order to allow yourself numerous opportunities to have some “beautiful ” mo-ments with your teen,you,the parent,must be willing to learn how to “look for the moment.” There do exist some special times in the average teen ’s day-to-day life when he or she really does wish to talk and share his or her feelings with adults,including parents. As principal,lunch patrol is an automatic duty.Rather than limit this time to breaking up fights,tracing down flying french fries,and locating the school lovers,I am always looking for the student who is ready to share the moment.To the untrained eye, they may be difficult to spot,but after some practice,noticing them is simple.Many outward signs of this exist:excited conversation,new or special clothing,visible injury, tears,anger,lost pup look,or one of the thousands of others that indicate as break in the student ’s normal pattern.Noticing a tie has brought conversation about funerals and death.Comments on a new jersey brought a recollection of a student ’s day with a separated father.Inquiring about a religious medal brought talk of a student ’s pride in signing a chastity contract.These opportunities are not limited to school.The opportunities are out there,if you ’d only search them out.(Searching takes time.)Observe your teen,and find the moment to take a peek into his world when he or she is willing to share it with you.
One-on-one is a good way for “finding the moment.” It is much easier for both the child and the parent to share when others are not around to distract from the conversation.Initiate the conversation,but let the teen lead it.After all,you don ’t want him to think you have concocted some devilish ploy to get him to express a feeling.Just try to be there and listen. 100 A beautiful book A Little Child Shall Lead Them calls these moments “windows of opportunity ” that will never be opened as widely again..Make sure you are looking for these special times and use them to build a stronger relationship with your teen. Myla &Kabat Zinn capture this same thought in their book Everyday Blessings.
“For our love for our children is expressed and experienced in the quality of the moment-to-moment relationships we have with them.It deepens in everyday moments when we hold these moments in awareness and dwells within them.Love is expressed in how we pass the bread,or how we say good morning and not just the bus trip to Disney World.” 101
42. ___________ Hours “Postponing action for reflection not to avoid it.” Critical Incidents In Teaching One of the finest principals I worked for was a gentleman by the name of Ron Kincaid.He taught me that you only deal with true emergencies (see Dead Bird) on the spot and allow time to lapse (his usual was three days)between your reactions to other events.As parents we could apply Ron ’s teaching to dealing with non-emergency teen problems.Allow time to let emotions calm and to gather information.*Allow rational consistent thought to control the process.Reflect on a series of incidents,not one action. Look at the wider context.Instead of confronting your teen on an immediate basis,establish what you think is an adequate waiting period before you act.It will help you control the situation.Choose the time and location and make the teen wonder what will happen. At school,alumni tell me the two day wait to find out what is going to happen to you for a rule infraction was usually worse than the punishment itself. Covey ’s thoughts in 7 Habits of Effective Families provide support for this sticker. “Obviously family life would be a whole lot better if people acted based on their deepest values instead of reacting to the emotion or circumstance of the moment.What we need is a pause button that enables us to stop between what happens to us and response to it and choose our own response.” In response to this advice,,two Pause Button stickers can be found in the sticker section. *How many times do we find out later that there was more to the story.You can always say what you want once the picture is clear,but you can never take back words that were spoken in haste. 179
55. Another Chance “In one long term study of such children, two factors stood out in life histories. One was the presence of even one caring adult, often a mentor or surrogate parent from
outside the family. The other was access to a second chance...an opportunity...that allowed individuals to achieve gains they had been unable to make in their early years.” The Way We Never Were Claude Brown in his book Manchild In The Promised Land provides a thought for parents as they deal with serious teen problems.He tells of a childhood incident in which a judge told him that he was going to give him another chance.Brown ’s response was, “No,you ’re not.You ’re going to give me the same chance I had before.” Often as parents and teachers we fall into the same trap.We have a problem with a teen and try to solve it by putting them right back into the same situations.If you really want to provide another chance,what has to change?Sit down and work through some changes on the part of all parties,not just those of the teen.Another chance might work; the same chance will probably produce the same results.If you always do what you have always done,then you will always get what you always got. 180
Another Chance Worksheet Situation ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Describe the same and another chance as they apply to this situation. Teen Same _____________________________________________________ Another _____________________________________________________ Parent Same _____________________________________________________ Another _____________________________________________________ Family Same _____________________________________________________ Another ___________________________________________________ Peers Same ____________________________________________________ Another ____________________________________________________ School Same ____________________________________________________ Another ____________________________________________________ Church Same ___________________________________________________ Another ___________________________________________________ How have you created a new opportunity? 181
51. Never Give Up “No one is as sick as their case history or diagnosis.” The Shelter of Each Other I remember a senior in one of my classes several years ago.She hardly ever studied.She tried to sleep every single day.She smoked in the rest room and skipped school. She didn ’t get along well with the other students,didn ’t seem interested in the religious values of the school,and she had a generally bad attitude.Though few if any of her infractions were of a crisis nature,it was this constant grind that wore everyone down.Every encounter was a conflict.Even when we tried to find a positive,she would make sure we couldn ’t.In the view of most of the faculty,the probability of her being a solid citizen
who made a significant contribution to society was very low.As teachers we wanted to help her,but she shut us out.Everything we stood for as a school and as human beings was the opposite of what she thought life should be. Recently,at an annual Board of Directors dinner,I met this individual again. She had just been named employee of the year.The basis for her selection was her leadership on the job,her volunteering of her time without pay at work and in the community,her friendliness to all group members,and her exercising Christian values with her own family. In short,this woman became a success in life where it counts.During her teenage years,she had worked so hard to hide the fantastic person inside,but because those people important to her stayed with her along the way,that fantastic person was not allowed to die. Regardless of their behavior,all children are good people.They need all the adults in their lives to stay with them and nurture the positives so the good in them will have time to develop.Make sure that every day of their life has the four “A ’s ” set by 182 parenting author Elaine M.Gibson —Attention, Acceptance, Approval, and Affection. The following boy ’s letter is an example of success for teachers and parents.He never brought about a crisis,but he gave the camels in his life more straw than a normal back could hold. Mr. Hattman, I would like to apologize for not behaving and not trying hard enough. But, I seem to be running out of time. Because of what you have done for me, it is about time to give something back. I have and will continue to do well in my classes this nine weeks and the rest of my days here at PCH, (which will be the rest of this year and all of next year). I’m not sure where I would be without you. I don’t know how to thank you. But I will give you my best at everything I do until I leave here. I can thank you for believing in me, and my mother for leading me in this direction. I haven’t met anyone else in the world who believes in me enough to give me more than one chance. Thank you for everything! Sincerely, “No matter how far away your son or daughter may seem to be, hang in there. Your children are bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh, by birth or emotional bonding. Eventually the prodigal son will return. You will reclaim them.” Covey,,7 Habits of Effective Families. 183
57. Help Me Say No “Here’s a secret about teenagers. They want rules. It’s a well kept secret, something teens will never directly tell you and one that they will deny…but it’s true.” Teen Tips In the early 70's,I learned a valuable lesson from a great young girl,TJ.She had a lot of problems but you knew that somehow she would make it to adulthood.We had our bad days,but most of the time she was great to have in class.During a discussion in social studies,several students were complaining about the rules and regulations imposed by their parents,especially curfew.TJ,usually a quiet kid in this type situation,jumped up and said “ at least your parents care enough to tell you when to be home ” and ran out
of the room crying.Later that day as we talked,she expressed how hard it was to say “I have to go home ” when nobody cared when she came home..She knew that she was weak and needed the help but it wasn ’t there.Peer pressure was usually the answer,and that was when the trouble started. As parents we communicate with teens by setting rules and consistently following up on them.Also,when these rules limit the number of opportunities for negative situations,we are helping our teen have a reason to say no.As a college student in the mid 60's,I am sure that the young men of my class sought the favors of young ladies as much as any generation.I am equally sure that the moral values taught by our parents and church helped keep us under control to some extent,but there were also rules that limited our “opportunities.” Girls had to sign back in the college dorms by 12:00. Nobody in his/her wildest dreams thought of coed dorms. Our apartment had “no women ” rules.. The sexual revolution and all its implications had not hit West Virginia. 184 The system wasn ’t perfect,and neither were we,but the combination of values and limited opportunity went a long way in helping us teens and could do the same for young people today.Are your teens in difficult situations because you have not limited their “opportunities?”As your kid goes out the door,think about TJ.Set the rules and limit the opportunities.