All students will achieve their maximum potential by becoming responsible, productive citizens and life-long learners.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Character Project: Controlled

Taking my own advice and challenge of being responsible, I decided to take the responsibility of personally speaking to students during lunch to see if they were taking part in the Character Challenge.   My thinking was that students would maybe talk a little more in the relaxed setting.  Once they did, I had hoped the conversation would carry on once I left.  The results appear to be half good and half less than I had hoped for.  The top three responses I received were as follows:

·         Teachers will definitely participate in this more than students.

·         I listen and like the announcements, but I don’t really think about it after that day.

·         I do it a little, but not too much.

When I asked students why, they had mostly shrugs and “I don’t knows” for answers.   I had another group of students tell me that it was a good idea, but they didn’t think a lot of students would take part.  When I asked how I could encourage them, all agreed they did not know.

So here it goes…I will continue to lead by example, talk to more students, and make stronger connections to life.

And there it is…
This week is about working on your control.  Ironically, the less you try to gain control when dealing with other people; the more you eventually have.  I cannot make students decide to be respectful, responsible, and controlled individuals.  However, I can model instead of tell; lead by example rather than manage by order; and expect no more of others than I do of myself.

You will notice the subtle change in the announcement read to the school.  I want to emphasize the need for students to come up with what will get them to participate.  As I have always said.  It is their environment, but it is my purpose to show them the implication of both action and inaction.  More importantly on a personal level, I want them to understand the difference between reacting and responding.  As Martin Luther said, “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”

 Here is the announcement read to the school for the third week of the challenge:

Good morning.  It’s the beginning of another great week!

Before we talk about the next trait we are going to work on in Seekonk High School’s Character Challenge, I want to address the idea that not enough people are working on this.  Sure there are some and it has caused a difference (so thank you for that), but let’s create a bigger difference.  It has only been two weeks.  Imagine what can be done over the course of four or six weeks if more people get involved.  So think…

  • How many of you were responsible enough to get to school on time?
  • Who did that homework, classwork, or project like they were supposed to?
  • Who among you are actually honestly attempting this?

So, let’s get to the point.  We have had…respectful, responsible and this week…controlled.

Have you noticed that so far, these traits are about behavior and even more important, your possible response to situations you encounter every day?

Have you noticed that they are related?

When I talk about controlled, I am not talking about controlling others or situations.  Inevitably that just leads to frustration and conflict.  It is important to remember that there are only certain things you have control over.  For example, you cannot control the actions of others…only yours.

Being Controlled means:

  • Getting along with others
  • Completing activities you don’t enjoy…like homework
  • Saying no when confronted with an opportunity to get involved in something you shouldn’t

When you have a free second, do this…

Make a list of all the things you actually have control over.  Then make a list of the things you do not have control over.  For example:

  • You have control over whether or not you get to school on time
    • You can choose to take the bus, leave earlier, set an extra alarm, or get to bed earlier
  • You do not have control over whether or not a teacher assigns homework.
    • You can choose to do it or not
  • You do not have control over what a person says about you
    • You can choose to not hang around with or listen to that person

Our self-control comes from choices and all choices carry consequences…some good…some bad.

Ultimately, the more control you struggle for, the less you have unless it has to do with self-control.  The only control you really have is in the choices you make.

It gets pretty complicated, but the only way to figure it out is to start.  Not tomorrow or with next week’s trait, but now.  Stop making excuses about your environment and take control of your life.

So when you are confronted with a situation…do not react…respond.  This offers you the opportunity to control how you handle yourself.

Some students have said there may be a better way to get more students involved.  Let me know how.  It’s important.  Let’s do this together in a way that matters for everyone.

Good luck and keep up the good work…


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