DISCIPLINE – positive discipline attracts positive results

positive or negative?

A particular class in a school in USA had a reputation for being unruly.

No teacher wanted that class.

Many had started with a determination to “whip this class into shape” but had left in frustration after a short time.

A lady teacher applied for the position.  Strong, domineering men had failed. How could a slender young lady possibly succeed?  The principal was dubious, but the reputation of that class made it difficult to find teachers. No doubt she would quit in desperation and tears in a short time but she was the only applicant.

The principal avoided the class, unwilling to face what he thought was the inevitable, but after a few days the principal asked how she was coping with the class. He was staggered when she replied, “No problems. They are lovely children.”

Curious, the principal decided to watch as the children entered the room. As each child entered, the teacher cheerfully greeted each child, using his/her name, holding eye contact and smiling, and she made a positive comment to each one.  Each comment was different. Each comment was genuine and given sincerely. Each comment brought a smile to the child and a lifting of the head.

Those children STARTED the day
with an affirmation of their personal VALUE.

Each STARTED knowing the teacher’s high EXPECTATIONS of them.

Each STARTED with a POSITIVE attitude.

That class was turned around.
The students started to learn and to achieve.

During many years in childrens ministry I have often been surprised, but there is ONE thing that has caught my attention MANY times in recent years. Mothers, when collecting their children, often ask them if they’ve been good, and the child will turn to a leader and ask “Have I been good today?”

DON’T THEY KNOW??!! Are children so used to being told NOT to do things and being told when they are “bad” or naughty, that they don’t know whether or not they’ve been good!?

Because of this I have asked children what “being good” means and answers are nearly always negative:  ‘NOT fighting … NOT making a mess … NOT …  NOT …’ or sometimes it will be things like: ‘helping Mum … cleaning my room … eating my dinner . . . putting away my things … helping with the housework’ etc.

MOST children are good MOST of the time – even the “bad” ones! – but they don’t realise it.  Why not? Because they are never told they are being good.  They are only told when they are NOT being good.

Good behaviour should be defined as ANYTHING that is NOT naughty. This simple understanding has been the single most important help for many parents with so-called “problem” children.

Children NEED to learn right from wrong. They NEED to be told when their behaviour is unacceptable – BUT

Do we neglect to OFTEN tell them they are “good”?
Do we need to add “PERSONAL VALUE” to our children?

About meetingintheclouds

I am Cloudwatcher, a 76 year old Christian lady, happily married to a wonderful man for over 50 years. We have five wonderful sons, all with at least one University degree and in top positions in their chosen fields. One son is still single but four have found perfect wives and they have given us five lovely grandchildren. I was born in England and while I'm proud of my English heritage, I am doubly proud to be a true-blue, fair-dinkum Aussie. My husband and I are committed Christians whose first priority is to love and serve our risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. My life story will tell of my journey from abuse to peace. I suffered 22 years of abuse, being constantly told I was totally evil and an ugly freak: no one would ever want me, so I might as well do the world a favour and kill myself.
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9 Responses to DISCIPLINE – positive discipline attracts positive results

  1. Thanks for sharing a most important concept to understand Positive Discipline. Truely we, adults are preparing them for a lifetime of service in their homes, families, communities, jobs, etc. I appreciate your view and thanks so much for stopping by My Journal of Praise and liking posts. God Bless.


  2. Rob Barkman says:

    You are so right. For some reason, in today’s society, it seems like children are looked upon as a burden and a necessary evil.

    And yet, if we stop and think about it, our children are the greatest opportunity for ministry there is. If we affect their lives in a positive, Godly way, it is preparing them for a lifetime of service to the Lord.

    In some cases, I’ve seen the children of Godly parents being able to accomplish much more for the cause of Christ than their parents were able to accomplish. But, I believe, their parents will share in the child’s rewards. After all, it was because they were brought up in the nuture and admonition of the Lord that the children were used of the Lord in such great ways.

    May the Lord bless you


    • Hi Rob. I believe the greatest privilege we have in this life is that of being a mother. Sorry if that sounds sexist but in my day it was the mother who was a parent 24/7.

      The importance of children (and ministry to children) cannot be overstressed. When we think of Jesus saying “Let the children come unto Me and forbid them not” we tend to think of the popular picture of Jesus sitting down with children on His lap and butterflies flitting around, but I think this is far from the actual event. I have read that the Greek shows that Jesus was angry and that the words He used were very similar to those when He drove the moneychangers and sellers from the temple.

      Children are not only the Church of tomorrow. They are the Church of today and have a definite ministry. I remember when I was teaching 7-9 year olds and asked one young boy about his relationship with Jesus. He told me he had become a Christian that week when “my friend Warwick” had shown him the way. (Warwick was another in the class). That young boy couldn’t be faulted on the understanding he had received through his friend Warwick.


  3. pbus1 says:

    Hello Angela,

    I loved this post! It literally read like a chapter out of my career! When I was working, it was so sad to hear teachers and parents say things like, “I can’t do anything with him/her!” Some of the students they spoke of, were in kindergarten or first grade, at the time! What is wrong with this picture?

    If I was still able to teach, I would love to have your post hanging in the teacher’s lounge, and in the classrooms of each teacher in the school! God bless you!



    • Thanks Paulette. This subject is dear to my heart. Having suffered all forms of child abuse myself, I found the WORST and longest-lasting form of abuse is mental abuse / verbal abuse. It seems adults have ONE response to anything that upsets them and that response is verbal abuse / put downs / criticism. Is it any wonder we have children who misbehave?

      I seldom go shopping without wanting to grab hold of a mother and tell her what she is doing to her young child by verbally abusing and “putting down” her child. I usually resist the temptation and try to ease the harm with a big smile and maybe encouraging words to the child.


  4. snowgood says:

    oops – they’re often smarter


  5. snowgood says:

    I love working with youngsters (7-11), but some nights we couldn’t find the key to success. The real joy was watching them grow, and start to grasp “faith”. The strangest thing was the kids who didn’t have a Christian family background were usually the quickest to grasp “The Truth” and connect with the topics discussed. I think I’ve learnt to never under estimate a child, there often “smarter” than the adults.


    • I agree we can never underestimate a child. “A little child will lead them” has often proven true. Over the decades I have worked with 3 yr olds to end of high school years, but in the last ten years it has mainly been with the older groups. I particularly love working with teens – the most vulnerable group in society and also the one with most promise.


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