October 2015 Archives

It seems to me that I have a choice as a lifelong learner: to take note of the consequences of my actions and grow OR to stay firmly in my comfort zone, seeing others as the source of any difficulty I may be experiencing. We see this in our children: some learn from their mistrials, and some go right back to their old ways. (We see this in adults and nations as well, but that's another story...!). Changing behavior, we know, is challenging - try giving up sugar or anger or snacks before bedtime (three of my bad habits).

In my work as a psychologist over the years I have often been asked about changing behavior, questions such as "how do I use a timeout?" or "how do I know Johnny is getting the message?"  I want to propose a simple question as a useful tool in all of these situations: always end a discipline situation with "what would you do differently next time?"

Looking forward and planning ahead are important parts of growth and development. Optimists often respond to setbacks with this sort of revised thinking to handle a future situation. For example:

      You get back a spelling test on which you got a grade of 40%. Your reaction is:

a)    This teacher is too demanding - those words were too long!

b)    I am never going to be a good speller and that's that!

c)     I am going to start studying with my dad three days before the next spelling test.

I probably don't need to suggest a best answer here, just like I probably don't need to come up with an adult scenario that would fit each of our lives. Owning our behaviors and planning ahead are "habits of the heart" that lead to growth.

            In a recent diversity retreat for the entire adult Friends Academy community we saw a video in which a simple analogy was presented regarding racism (and applicable to all "wrong thinking" habits):

                        Think of dealing with behaviors and thinking that gets us into difficulty

 like oral hygiene: you floss and brush every day, don't you? Why not

 "clean up" your behaviors and thinking every day?


Our Friends Academy theme this year - "Our Inward Journey - Listen, Share, Grow" - promotes a growth mindset for us all.  Let's remember to ask "what would I do differently next time?" when we get into difficulty, shall we?



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This page is an archive of entries from October 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

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