Principal’s Blog 21st September 2018, Who controls the weather?

26 years ago, while training, a quote by Ginott’s 1972 book “Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers.” was shared with me:

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” 

This message has resonated with me ever since, not only as a teacher, but as a leader and a parent.  Recently I took the time to explore a few more of his quotes and I thought that I would use this week’s blog to share them.

“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.” 

“Like a trained surgeon who is careful where he cuts, parents, too, need to become skilled in the use of words. Because words are like knives. They can inflict, if not physical, many painful emotional wounds.” 

“What do we say to a guest who forgets her umbrella? Do we run after her and say “What is the matter with you? Every time you come to visit you forget something. If it’s not one thing it’s another. Why can’t you be like your sister? When she comes to visit, she knows how to behave. You’re forty-four years old! Will you never learn? I’m not a slave to pick up after you! I bet you’d forget your head if it weren’t attached to your shoulders.” That’s not what we say to a guest. We say “Here’s your umbrella, Alice,” without adding “scatterbrain.”
Parents need to learn to respond to their children as they do to guests.” 

“Communication with children should be based on respect and on skill; it requires (a) that messages preserve the child’s as well as the parent’s self-respect; and (b) that statements of understanding precede statements of advice or instruction. Eric,” 

“Unfortunately, when parents are confronted with children’s misbehavior, they are unaware that usually disturbing feelings fuel that behavior. Feelings must be dealt with before behavior can be improved.” 

The power we have to control the emotions and behaviour of the young people in our charge is both a great responsibility and liberating. It’s a science and an art, if we expect perfection we will sink under its load, if we expect anything less than our very best then we are letting ourselves and others down.

It requires us as adults to work together, a team effort in designing, creating and reflecting upon approaches like this which link to our core aim of gaining fulfillment by playing a positive role in our community.

We might not control the weather, but we are a decisive element and that makes our role very worthwhile.

Mr Nelson