Integrate Honesty Games into Your Class!

It’s honesty month! Master Joe Pena from Powerful Words Member School, Boston Tae Kwon Do in Massachusetts suggests integrating some honesty games into your curriculum this month!  Here are two of his favorites that are working great at his school:

  1. Dodge Ball: The children line up in two lines facing one another.  Each team has several soft balls to toss at the other team’s legs.  If you’re tagged by a ball, you’re out!  The children learn honesty in action.
  2. Noodle Games: The “It” Child is given a pool noodle.  All the children are told to run around the training floor.  If the child tags another child with the noodle, that child is out.

The other day, Master Pena told me that during the noodle game, one of the 5 year old children raised his hand and said, “so and so is not being honest. I tagged him but he’s not being honest and sitting down.”  What’s interesting here is not that the child is speaking up, but the words he’s choosing to say.  He is showing that he understands the concept of honesty and can use it correctly to illustrate a point.

Please don’t forget for one moment the impact of what you choose to teach everyday.  You are critical in your students’ development.  Through Powerful Words, your curriculum, and your creativity, you are creating leaders with character.

If you’re using any other honesty games, please let us know so we can post them up for everyone in the Powerful Words family to use!  We always loved “bowling” in which the children were the pins!  The children jump over or side step a ball or other soft object (we always used the tops of the heavy bags that slid right off the bases) that were tossed by the teachers or teen helpers.  The kids loved it.  Again, if you got tagged, you needed to be honest, and take yourself out of the game.  Last one standing was the winner.

Have a great honesty month!

A Quick Gratitude Post…

Greetings All,

I’d like to share a fabulous e-mail that we received about Gratitude Month and it’s effect on an instructor and school owner…Please forward us your best gratitude story for the month!

best,

Jason M. Silverman

———-

Hi Jason and Dr. Robyn,

I have a story for you! We did not actually celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week this year, but I did mention it to my classes on Monday and Tuesday. I recommended to the kids that this was a great time to show their gratitude to their favorite teachers with more than saying “Thank You.”

On Thursday, I received a small rose plant and a hand-made card (by an almost 5 year-old) that said “Dear Ma’am, Thank you for teaching us.” It was signed by all four members of the family that trains with us. Dad and older brother are advanced students, and mom and little brother are beginners. After the beginner class (while Dad and Big Bro were training) I noticed Mom and Little Bro working on an art project while they waited for the other two. Mom was telling the little guy how to spell “Dear Mr. Pete.” Then I heard her say “well… what do you like to do with him?” When I walked over on a break, he had written on another home-made card “Dear Mr. Pete. Thank you for playing with me.”

Thank you so much. I know what it meant to me to receive that hand-made card, and it’s so amazing that because of our program, at least two other teachers got the same smile. It never ceases to amaze me how much *I* learn from the Word of the Month program.

Cheers!

Kristin C. Quintana
Owner, Chief Instructor
Kuk Sool Won(tm) of Menlo Park

What we’re fighting against: 10 Ways to Help Teens Deal with Peer Pressure

This article was posted on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog in an altered form as a service of Powerful Words for Powerful Words Member Schools.

After an extremely disturbing YouTube video surfaced showing 8 teens from Florida beating of another teen, parents are confused and horrified. The victim was treated for a concussion and numerous bruises and the attackers were arrested. As educators, coaches, and teachers, this is when our assistance is most needed– we can be part of the solution by helping teens and children build their character and make positive choices.

My initial assessment when I saw eight teens all working together to beat up another teen was that perhaps this was a result of negative peer pressure gone to the extreme. As positive role models, we can help to make sure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen with our students.

As we know, many teens and preteens tend to find themselves in a peer-pressured situation. Sometimes peer pressure can be positive—getting teens to raise their grades in school, take positive risks like trying out for a sport or play, and introduce themselves to new people.

Other times, peer pressure can have horrible effects on teens. Because teenagers want to be accepted and “get along” with others their own age, they tend to “go along” with the crowd even when it challenges their core values.

How can Powerful Parents and Powerful Words member schools help teens make good decisions even in the face of peer pressure? This is a place where you can shine.

(1) Start early: Begin a conversation about about making good choices with young children and talk about them often. Be sure that your students know your views about “acceptable” and “unacceptable” behavior. Are those behaviors always unacceptable or are their circumstances when they are OK? Are these behaviors OK for some people and not for others? Rules should be clear from the very beginning so that everyone is on the same page.

(2) Ask Questions: Sometimes the best thing you can do is ask questions. Again, start this early so that your students are used to it. “What would you do if…” “If your best friend was smoking, would you try it too?” “Do you know anyone who makes you feel…” When you ask questions and stay quiet, you often get more answers and make more progress than just telling your teens how you feel about certain behaviors.

(3) Role Play: It can be difficult to find the right words when you are actually in the peer pressured situation. Practicing with a trusted person before it actually happens can make it easier. Play the part of your student’s friend and help them work through what he would do or say. Do they want to make a joke? Just say no? Leave? Go get help? Role play different scenarios often until your students feel comfortable and at ease with their choices and their strategies.

(4) Talk about How to Buddy Up: There is strength in numbers. Encourage your teens to talk to a trusted friend about “buddying up” when peer pressure gets overwhelming. When teens know that their friends will be there to back them up and agree with their decisions, it can be a lot easier to make positive choices.

(5) Lay the Foundation of Character: Since teens and parents are using Powerful Words at home and through your schools, they are already way ahead of the game. Encourage them to “Drive the points home” when they leave your Powerful Words member school and ask the children how the word of the month applies to their lives. What decisions are they making each day that shows they are living according to the powerful word of the month? How does the family show it? How do friends show it? Words like compassion, acceptance, self discipline, confidence, respect, courage and trustworthiness, can certainly become a great springboard for a discussion of peer pressure, how to stay true to yourself, and how to treat others.

(6) Discuss “Spring Cleaning” in the Friend Closet: Teens grow and change. Sometimes that means that they no longer have the same interests and they are no longer heading in the same direction of some of their current friends. While it’s not OK to pick your students’ friends for them, sometimes friendships at this time of life can be confusing. When you hear them struggling with peer pressure, let them know that it’s OK to drift apart and make other friends who make them feel more comfortable.

(7) Model saying no: Show your students that it’s OK to speak your mind in an assertive and respectful way. Children need to see that their parents and role models are not “doormats.” When you show them that you can be assertive (yet not abusive or aggressive) and the result is positive, they will emulate you. If you show that you’re wishy-washy in pressured situations, they are more likely to imitate more passive “follower” behavior.

(8) Help your Children Avoid Potentially Dangerous Situations: When young people are not in situations where bad choices are being made, they are much less likely to make them. Choosing friends who share similar values, who don’t take part in controlled substances or inappropriate behavior and engage in positive after-school programs, will be some of your teen students’ best defenses. In addition, spending time in places, such as your academies, where it is positive and safe, will keep them from spending time in places that can be dangerous and negative.

(9) Foster Strong Self Worth and Confidence: Children and teens need to know that what they do “counts” for something. Praise your children for positive choices they make and recognize them for their efforts and their strength of character. Encourage them to give back to others (such as through community or charity work) so they build their sense of pride, gratitude, and citizenship. Help them to process critique so that it makes them stronger and assist them in peeling away useless criticism that stems from jealousy, closed-mindedness, or anger. Your academy can help hit this point home.

(10) Tell them that they can always count on trusted adults to help out: Help your students to realize that no matter what time of night or day, they should know that they can call on a trusted adult when they are in a bad situation, no acceptation. Have they identified that person? Is it their parent? Grandparent? Mentor? Sometimes teens find themselves at a friends house, surrounded by people or circumstances that make them feel unnerved or distressed, and they are unsure if they should call or who they should call because they wonder if they’ll get into trouble. Preteens and teens need to know that they always have someone and that they should not think twice about calling—because they will always come—even if it’s 2am.

Adults might feel that once their children round the corner to teenagerhood, they no longer have any impact. But they do. Teens carry their superheroes’ words, actions, and promises in their heads everywhere they go—even if they don’t admit it.

It’s not too late to start a discussion today. You might just be opening up one of the most meaningful and important conversations you and your teen students have ever had. Of course, you might meet some resistance—you might even see a few rolled eyes—but what Powerful educator backs down to a little challenge?

Here’s to you-

Teachers as Role Models: Seven Ways to make a Positive Impact

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They want to be just like you. Are you being a positive role model?
Seven Ways to Be a Powerful Role Model
Note: This article appears in an altered form on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog as a service of the Powerful Words Character Program for member schools.

A role model is a person whose behavior is imitated by others. Of course, there are both good role models and bad role models. There’s even the counterintuitive anti-role model, discussed in today’s Boston Globe, who behaves so badly that s/he serves as a good example of what NOT to do.

We all hope that children have good, strong role models who possess the kind of qualities that make our students want to be (and become) better people. While there is some variation in every teacher’s definition of what it means to be a good person, the following 7 characteristics of a positive role model remain constant.

Positive role models;

(1) Model positive choice-making: Little eyes are watching and little ears are listening. When it comes to being a role model, you must be aware that the choices you make don’t only impact you but also the children who regard you as their superhero. Someday, they will be in the same predicament and think to themselves, “What did s/he do when s/he was in the same situation?” When you are a role model it’s not enough to tell your charges the best choices to make. You must put them into action yourself.

(2) Think out loud: When you have a tough choice to make, allow the children to see how you work through the problem, weight the pros and cons, and come to a decision. The process of making a good decision is a skill. A good role model will not only show a child which decision is best, but also how they to come to that conclusion. That way, the child will be able to follow that reasoning when they are in a similar situation.

(3) Apologize and admit mistakes: Nobody’s perfect. When you make a bad choice, let those who are watching and learning from you know that you made a mistake and how you plan to correct it. This will help them to understand that (a) everyone makes mistakes; (b) it’s not the end of the world; (c) you can make it right; and (d) you should take responsibility for it as soon as possible. By apologizing, admitting your mistake, and repairing the damage, you will be demonstrating an important yet often overlooked part of being a role model.

(4) Follow through: We all want children to stick with their commitments and follow through with their promises. However, as adults, we get busy, distracted, and sometimes, a bit lazy. To be a good role model, we must demonstrate stick-to-itiveness and self discipline. That means; (a) be on time; (b) finish what you started; (c) don’t quit; (d) keep your word; and (e) don’t back off when things get challenging. When role models follow through with their goals, it teaches children that it can be done and helps them adopt an “if s/he can do it, so can I” attitude.

(5) Show respect: You may be driven, successful, and smart but whether you choose to show respect or not speaks volumes about the type of attitude it takes to make it in life. We always tell children to “treat others the way we want to be treated” and yet, may not subscribe to that axiom ourselves. Do you step on others to get ahead? Do you take your spouse, friends, staff or colleagues for granted? Do you show gratitude or attitude when others help you? In this case, it’s often the little things you do that make the biggest difference in how children perceive how to succeed in business and relationships.

(6) Be well rounded: While we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin, it’s important to show children that we can be more than just one thing. Great role models aren’t just “teachers.” They’re people who show curiosities and have varied interests. They’re great learners and challenge themselves to get out of their comfort zones. You may be a teacher who’s also a student of martial arts or yoga, a great chef, a good sportsman, a father and a treasured friend. You may be a coach who’s a gifted dancer, a solid rock climber, a celebrated singer, a mother and a curious photographer. When children see that their role models can be many things, they will learn that they don’t need to pigeon-hole themselves in order to be successful.

(7) Demonstrate confidence in who you are: Whatever you choose to do with your life, be proud of the person you’ve become and continue to become. It may have been a long road and you may have experienced bumps along the way, but it’s the responsibility of a role model to commemorate the lessons learned, the strength we’ve amassed, and the character they’ve developed. We can always get better, however, in order for children to celebrate who they are, their role models need to show that confidence doesn’t start “5 pounds from now,” “2 more wins on top of this one,” or “1 more possession than I have today.” We must continue to strive while being happy with how far we’ve come at the same time.

While it may seem like a great deal of pressure to be a positive role model; nobody is expecting you to be superhuman. We certainly wouldn’t expect that behavior from the children who are looking to us for answers and guidance—nor would we want them to expect that kind of flawless behavior from themselves or others. You can only do your best. And, if you mess up today, you can always refer back to tip #3 and try again tomorrow. Good role models earn multiple chances from the children who believe in them and know they can do anything if they simply put their mind to it.

Here’s to a Powerful Week!

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Taking good risks: Teaching courage by example

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Teaching by example. We talk about it often. But how do we teach courage when adult life can often appear mundane or monotonous? Sometimes, we just have to do something out of the ordinary.

Just as our coach did with us, when I work with my coaching clients on envisioning their best year for 2008, I ask them to “name their year.” For confidentiality sake, I won’t divulge what my clients have come up with but I’ll let you know my own personal label for 2008; The Year of Taking Risks. Not stupid risks (well, I’ll certainly try not to make those) but risks that push me. In keeping with that theme, each week, I make sure that I do something to get me out of my comfort zone.

We’re all so busy. Who has time for risk-taking? But in order to evolve, it’s important to put yourself out there, don’t you think? Adulthood can get a little too comfortable and predictable—and that makes us get stale.

I know Jason told our Powerful Words Family that I earned the part of Rosie in my community theater’s rendition of “Bye Bye Birdie.” In fact, this weekend is opening weekend and last night was opening night. It’s thrilling and scary and fun all rolled up into each performance. Many of the responses we received were of surprise or shock– who knew? It seems so “out of character,” right? But I figure, sometimes out of character means strengthening character.

It was only a few short month’s ago that I finished playing the part of Joy, the wicked stepsister, in Cinderella. Performing in both plays was part of taking risks—not just because I tried out for the plays, but because of what I need to do with the characters to make them interesting.

Perhaps like many of you, I consider myself a pretty focused, happy, friendly, straight-laced person. As adults, we often find ourselves needing to be pretty serious during the typical day—and we loose the silliness in our life. Even working with kids doesn’t always save us from being, well, a bit mundane.

Landing the part of Joy in Cinderella meant I needed to be everything opposite of my norm; miserable, ridiculous, confrontational, over-the-top and yes, absolutely silly. When I first started rehearsals, I remember feeling uncomfortable. The director pushed me and I started taking risks. It was hard to get out of rehearsals without laughing a good belly laugh at the craziness of it all. I found the humor in Joy, and more importantly, it helped me to find the humor in myself.

Rosie has helped me uncover another side of myself that can sometimes be squashed in the day to day. Yes, she can be brazen and sassy, but I’m referring more to what it took for me to play the part. Courage. The role calls for a lot of singing—sometimes being left on stage for minutes at a time while the spotlight focuses just on one person; me. The opportunity reminded me about putting confidence and courage into action. We all talk about doing these things—but do we really challenge ourselves?

It seems to me, and I hope you agree, that our students have this same opportunity when they join your academies. Perhaps in their regular life they’re shy, or they’re perceived as “not the type” to show up at a school like yours. You know who I’m talking about, right? At first, they might seem timid or unsure of themselves. But over time, something clicks and they aren’t just going through the motions anymore. The activity gets into their blood, and the process brings out a side of them that they might not have even known existed. What a gift.

Let’s encourage our students, staff, and ourselves to take the kind of risks that allow them to uncover sides of themselves that they haven’t seen for a while—or maybe even a side that they never knew existed. This makes us better students and teachers and more dynamic, more interesting people.

Here’s to doing something out-of-character that builds character!

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New Checklist to Ensure Success

Greetings All~

As most people know about me, I’m a big fan of systems. That being the case, I’ve just created a great checklist for brand new POWerful Words clients to ensure that they quickly, easily, painlessly, and properly implement our system in their school(s).

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Most of our clients believe in Constant and Never Ending Improvement…So… I thought
you might be interested in a copy of this checklist to make sure that YOU have implemented everything successfully as well! If you’re interested, shoot me an e-mail (Current Client ONLY) and I’ll get it to you for free – ASAP!

Many of my personal coaching clients find it useful to create checklists for every job that gets done at their school. It’s a fantastic way to create a system that your staff can easily follow every single day. I’d be interested in seeing what types of systems you’ve built for your school – if you feel that you’ve got a helpful checklisted system that the Powerful Words family would benefit from, please take a moment to either post it here or e-mail it to me so that I can help everybody to succeed!
Also, for some reason, a bunch of clients have told me that they are not receiving our monthly Snail Mail Newsletter – can you please confirm that you got this month’s newsletter? (you can comment online here, or drop me an e-mail!)

Best regards,

Jason M. Silverman
Executive Director
POWerful Words Character Development

P.S. Have you signed up for Dr. Robyn’s new weekly audio newsletter at http://www.PowerMoment.com?

New Resource Announced Today from Dr. Robyn Silverman!

Greetings All~

I am thrilled to invite you to take advantage of a brand new Free Audio Coaching Newsletter with Dr. Robyn Silverman…each and every week!

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This newsletter is designed to help you and your staff become more effective at what you do and the best part about it…it’s free. Dr. Robyn wants to see more schools succeeding and feels that this information will be helpful to everyone.

The website just went live and I’d be honored to have you onboard – check out the site:

The Power Moment

Sign up and you’ll receive the very first episode immediately in your inbox!

Again, check out The Power Moment right now!

You’re gonna love it!
Best regards,

Jason M. Silverman
POWerful Words Character Development

*** Here’s some feedback from one of our brand new Power Moment Subscribers:

“Hi  Dr. Robyn!

I’m going to start using the Power Moment Accountability Sheet to keep me on track.  I will start this afternoon and I’ll know it’s complete when I see the papers on my desk bulletin board with the first one marked COMPLETE!  I will also use a similar form with students that could use an extra help with accountability.

Great program – You Rock!

Signed,

A Raving Fan”

P.S. Would you mind forwarding this site to anyone who
owns a school that would like to achieve more success?