Category Archives: Character training

Links Relating to Storybook Selection and Purchase

Caldecott Winners   (Hosted by Association for Library Service to Children) 
Parents’ Choice
The Kindergarten Canon, by Fordham
Redeemed Reader
Some Christian mothers review books:
Advance Publishing, owned by Author and Activist for Character Education, Carl Sommer (fyi aimed at elementary age, but still many books may be good for the 4s and the 5s) 
These were the resource additions to a handout for a session on how to better read/tell stories at a conference for church related preschools.

Stories with Morals

Since the 70s, morals to a story have been specifically not permitted in most paid writing. Why not? Since we now know that academic success is predicted foremost by character training, we need to reverse this.
On second thought, all stories have moral points. So what we need to do is to articulate, specifically, the good moral points. Further, we might reflect upon moral points that are bad. And then disallow them. We really don’t need stories like that, do we?
I recommend the books of Advance Publishing, by Carl Sommer. All of these books were written to be used in elementary public schools, so many may be useful to my CDC clients. I do have some of these one hand, for my Austin clients.

Our Mission : Helping You Meet Your Mission

We do basic management consulting for small businesses, churches, and schools. Our greatest expertise is understanding the social dynamics of the workgroup. The second is sympathetic coaching of the frontline manager.  Original assessment research and follow-up required.
Topics for training include:  1) how to hire, manage, and fire for the new manager, 2) time management for the manger and business owner, 3) conflict reduction, 4) meeting facilitation,  5) customer service, 6) corporate culture — and 7) coaching.
We specialize in helping congregationally affiliated child development centers, in ALL aspects, because we feel this is an important mission to the world. Few understand both the business, the board, and the educational dynamics of CDCs. We do. We can help. Conflict reduction, board training, marketing, curriculum development, character development, and management.
We have long specialized in conflict reduction. Most of our customers have been denominations, non-profits, and schools. Please see our book, written, especially with the Austin corporate market in mind. Workshops available tailored for your specific denomination.
We have great curriculum on customer service. I see a great need for it.
We have a new product line to help people find their mission. Sharon has been certified in Lance Wallnau’s Destiny Dashboard. She has also written curriculum for the solopreneur to reflect upon and improve his/her performance: Career Console.
We were drafted to help with some executive level English and American business etiquette, and are very happy to help.
Please call to set up a private consultation, a keynote or workshop. 512-249-7629

Peter Yarrow's Anti-Bullying Campaign is Gentle, Playful, and Useful

Many of my clients are directors of preschools. They will immediately see the usefulness of this anti-Bullying campaign. Other managers or trainers might find the music of Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mayr) pleasant enough to add to their programs, too.
Here is a report on Yarrow’s anti-bullying campaign (and curriculum)
Here are the lyrics:
Here is how to get in touch with Mr. Yarrow.
I don’t think I have to report the sad news of the day to see that we need lots of help in this area. This is a really good beginning with children — and even adults. I have seen the whole anti-bullying idea used by institutional bullies against good employees, whistle-blowers, and activists, so I have been rather careful about getting on this bandwagon. Yet, Yarrow gentle reminder has stood the test of time. Don’t laugh at others because they are different. We need to all have a common feel for the fact we are all human.
We still offer diversity training and conflict reduction seminars.

Discovering Your Power At Work

Susan Flower of the Blanchard Group reminds us that what we do does matter. We think we have no power, but we do. Read on:
An essential mindset for achieving your goals and contributing to the goals of others is recognizing and appreciating your power at work. I’ve witnessed many amazing transformations as individuals altered their mindset related to power, explored their points of power, and proactively created positive change. This transformation begins by recognizing an important truth about power: […]

via Don’t Underestimate Your Points of Power at Work—5 Places to Look — Blanchard LeaderChat

Looking Around at the Milestone Markers: Where Have We Come?

It is graduation time. After the celebration and the well-wishing for our graduating students, let’s take a few minutes to assess where education is. I know, we are all very interested in taking off, going for summer, sitting by a pool; but just a minute, let’s see how we as educators and administrators are doing.
Simon Sinek is making a name for himself with an analyzation of millenials. He says we need to stop the phone screen addiction. I agree. He says the corporation need to work harder to accommodate this generation, because they have the lowest self-esteem of any generation and are so very unhappy.
Of course, Sinek makes no claim to real social research, but his discussion has gone viral because he has hit upon a major concern. He blames “failed parenting” but what about failed education? What about the generation, or 2, of self-esteem bolstering boosterism? BTW, real science indicates that self-esteem is created by real achievement. Never mind that teacher training continues in the wrong direction. What about the fact that the corporation was never intended to do any more socialization than be sure that the workers was working to standards and the culture of the corporation. The agents of socialization (training a child to be a functional adult) are parents, school, — and gosh maybe the church might have a role in helping people live adequately. Might we not discuss what they should be doing and doing differently?
Or must we stay with the thinking that caused the problem and say, oh you poor thing, we must take more responsibility, boundaries, and teaching/correction away from you, so you will be happier?
What do you think?


Since I do many workshops on conflict reduction for school personnel, I am frequently asked to provide something on teaching conflict reduction to children. Finally, I have it!
Aware of the controversies, I didn’t want to speak until I had something to say. Now I have it! Time tested method and some new research. Bam! We now have peanut butter AND jelly! Together, great sandwiches!
So call me for a four hour workshop for your staff. Normally $480 + mileage & expenses outside of Austin metro, but now, through February 2017, only $420.
Call now 512-534-5425. Be sure to get your date! My schedule is filling up.
Think of how much good you will be doing for the world. Think of your parents, and even your students, grown, coming back to thank you. Think of how much better your classroom could be.

Open Consultant's Report to Pastor: You Have Options for Supporting Your Parents

A client asked me this question, and I realized every pastor in America should be asking it. Here is the question as I understand it: Although we have in the past promoted going to public school to be salt and light and also promoted the idea of taking advantage of educational offerings that were not specifically Christian, in a time when we feel out children’s safety, physically and psychologically will be at risk if they go to a school accepting federal funding, and we tell parents to remove their children from public schools and colleges, what options are there for supporting them in this endeavor?

Good news, you have a number of options. Here is a preliminary answer.
The primary concern at this moment for you is k-12, so let’s address those options first, and briefly mention others later.
1. Private or church school
The church can make a school. This is no small undertaking and there are many paths depending upon congregational needs. Nevertheless, given the urgency of the situation, let me give you general highlights of what I would recommend.
a. If the question is, how can I have a reasonable school the shortest amount of time possible, with the most limited resources, the answer I would recommend is be an ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) school. The upside is that there is much going for the idea of individualized education, that the plan can be instituted economically and obviates the need for highly educated staff. It has a long track record. The downsides are that it is too 2D, that the ACE organization is hide-bound conservative, and that the curriculum is weak in some spots, particularly at the high school level. However, these deficiencies are usually overcome by doing such things as purchasing other curriculum, bringing in guest lecturers, and planning group activities for the children, perhaps in the afternoon. ACE is the easiest to get into, but you will want to be supplementing it or migrating to AOP for the long term, is my guess.
Alpha Omega is a more popular curricula and has more choices. It too, is definitely evangelical. It can be used like an ACE school in that it can be all individualized and all not teacher directed. They still have print based material, and are now pushing computer delivered but 3-12 only. Indeed, AO has so many more choices altogether, so that for someone quite new to the situation, it might be overwhelming. But their staff is normally very helpful. They do have teacher training and support, but they do not have help organizing a school, because that is so state specific.
They have three options, depending on how teacher-led you want the school to be. They even offer dual credit (high school/college). So with a bit more learning curve, this is a great option, even for long term.
b. In almost all cases, it is important that the school be a separate legal entity from the church. Normally it is best to start a private school with separate 501(c)3 status, with a charter that firmly establishes measures that insure the church’s views and oversight in the school.
There are, however, other means of setting up schools depending upon the obstacles of the particular case.
While it is not easy to start and get a 501(c)3, it is possible. Alternatively, it may be possible to have one established at the denominational/ fellowship level, with each congregation’s school a subsidiary chapter. Consult a denominational attorney about this.
C. Do not fail to consider insurances and legal retainer. Have a battle ready plan. Again, the denomination may be able to help: you may have a lawyer at the ready already, or if many churches begin schools, perhaps together you may hire such help. Many schools and daycares run badly and continue to do so. This OUGHT to be comfort to those that run well. Occasionally, however, very weird things happen: a parent gets mad, a public official over-reaches, or you get targeted by a wrong-headed activist group. This is not time to be frightened of this, as Franklin Graham said on the steps of our capitol building: “If someone offers to sue you over this, then tell ‘em, ‘come on’. There are more of us than there are of them.”
2. Homeschooling
Every state has different rules about this. When and where it can be accomplished, the results are outstanding. Every year since the 1980s, based on standardized tests, home educated children handily outperform their public school peers. My own observation is that they tend to be much more mature and better able to comport themselves socially.
Fortunately in Texas, we have a right to educate our children privately in our homes.
Today there are many options, including online, teacher-led options, and even free (but there again you are getting into public school). Consequently, if a family can provide care for a child even to the point of just safety and encouraging 2 or 3 hours a day studying, they can home school.
Families can hire instructors privately or in some combination to teach certain subjects. So for instance, parents get together and hire a coach and a physics teacher. Similarly, they could hire a tutoring service and select a curricula and send the child with the book to the tutor – and since the child is totally under the parents’ direction and spends most of their time with the parent then they can be called home-schooled. There are a number of models that are somewhat blended.
For the question of higher education, of course there are already many Christian colleges. Given that the public schools are now so costly, the Christian offerings do not seem so expensive by contrast. Further, given the low quality of public education, and the bias in the curricula, and the increase push to see all students go through college, there is a question about the cost/benefit of attending college. Tradesmen will be in short supply and so a technical school may be a more remunerative route. We will need the church to take up more of the critical thinking and higher education market, so we have some of that that is not overwhelmed by darkness, but I think that is afoot also.
The preschool arena is being swamped by the same sexual identity agenda that has recently hit the news, if more quietly. Because of this widespread concern, AOP is working on a preschool curriculum. Many suspect that the federal government is reaching toward control the curricula in order to control personality formation. So not just as an evangelistic mission, but also for any of the church’s children’s safety, having a full child development center is really a need.
2. Home – educators’ Cooperative
There is a possibility of making a coop. I hear of some groups of parents doing this. What is legal depends very much on the legal definition of home education and the rules in that state.
The definition of homeschooling in Texas is
A home schooled student predominantly receives instruction in a general, elementary, or secondary education program that is provided by the parent, or a person standing in parental authority, in or through the child’s home [Texas Education Code 29.916 (a)] ( May 18, 2016).
In the one such parent cooperative homeschooling school the parents take the entire responsibility for the children, must be physically present, and apportion duties among themselves. Some teach and other assist. There is one single mom who cannot make it all 5 days and the parents cover for her. Notice, that no one just drops off their children. While parents apportion duties, each family makes decisions about education and is responsible for their child’s supervision.
This group of parents does have an arrangement with a church. The church pays no extra insurance because the parents, not the church is responsible. The group has some very experienced educators and home-educators and is evidently a member/client of THSC. How much or whether they pay rent, I do not know.
This option of a home-school coop is very appealing but does have possible potholes. It is the one option most likely to be questioned by authorities. If you wish to research this option, you might consult the Texas Home School Coalition or the Home School Legal Defense Association names. I recommend every home educator be a member of one or the other.
BTW, This is the time for home-school conventions. THSC will have one in The Woodlands July 21-23. Every other metro area has a large Christian home schooling association. The THSC Woodlands should be the largest in the state.
There are options. They should be explored. While it is unimaginable that we are where we are, nevertheless, we should expect that if the measure is overturned, it will come back. You would be very surprised at the age cohort difference in views, such that young people today are far more…. liberal is not a good word here… unconventional?…. on these issue than their parents.
Please post your resources and questions. I will be glad to aggregate and curate resources for such endeavors. There have always been lots of reasons to start congregation affiliated schools. Now we have another — more pressing one.
I am glad to help in working with parents, boards, and administrators. Particularly in terms of organizational strategy, management development, sorting through pedagogical alternatives, and evaluating sales people’s claims I might be able to help. 512-534-5425

Definite Techniques for Transformation

Triggers,  by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter       NY: Random, 2015
Okay, folks, we are talking about psychology and behavior here, not guns. This book begins sounding very psychologically oriented, but it was written by a management consultant, often brought in by top executives to “smooth the interpersonal rough edges off” by a CEO. Aims at helping implement desired changes.
Questions are clearly Goldsmith’s preferred methods. One chart tracks kinds of questions, whether they are more helpful or not by whether they are wanted or not and encouraging or not. Another asks whether you should preserve or eliminate, be creative or accepting. Drawn as a circle, one can plot items on a continuum.
The insight about how much environment affects a person, coupled with the questions allows people to move off their usual excuses of blaming the environment and see themselves and give themselves motivation for change.
Goldsmith reflected on his coaching failures to ask how committed to change people were. Some don not want to be changed and it is arrogant of us to think we can help them change. In other cases, people need help and structure. For instance, the 5 point checklist for doctors in intensive care units dramatically educed infections – even thought doctors know all the the ingredients. The structure of the checklist reminded them to do what they knew to do. Similarly, we know crises will occur and other challenges will come, so we need help (such as someone calling us to ask us the questions or daily rating system) or structure (such as regular check in meetings)
On the recurrent obstacles is that we get tired at the end of the day, and sometimes we have too much on our plate. Other times, we just didn’t plan to do our best, as if there were some times when it would be okay to be an amateur. Well, sometimes it is: when it is impossible to be anything else, then it is time to settle for good enough rather than be unhappy. Most of the time in interpersonal relationships, however, we could be better, if we realized there were a way. Not enough sleep
Finally he asks about when is good enough good enough. Manufacturing will have certain errors and effort to eliminate them at a certain point become counter-productive, but by contrast, a CEO must not let himself off the hook by saying he is not a professional speaker and a husband can’t avoid responsibility by saying well, at work he has to be professional.
Helpful in changing behavior and helping in cuing a coach on how to help clients.
What questions have meant the most in changing your own behavior? What questions have you posed to your staff to improve performance?

Martin Seligman on Learned Optimism in Management

Martin Seligman Learned Optimism
Seligman is a psychologist and his work is very helpful for those teaching or rearing children. However there is much in this book that is helpful for management also.
He was hired to help Metropolitan Life, one of the largest insurance companies, with one of the largest cadre of salespeople at that time. They were using aptitude test to select recruits for sale people, investing millions of dollars in them only to find that many dropped out in the first few years. When they added Seligman’s tests of optimism, their retention rates when up dramatically. Someone who just barely failed the aptitude test but rated highly in optimism was much more likely to be a successful salesperson than someone who had a high aptitude but little optimism. They stop hiring the high aptitude but bottom half in optimism. Both moves increased retention and improved sales.
However, when asked to apply the same measures to the executive suite, Seligman had reservations. The executive suite needed people who could accurately judge the situation, while optimists are not very accurate.
Optimism may be measure, and may be induced, by an explanatory style that posits all bad occurrences as temporary and all good occurrences as rooted in the permanent.
“I did poorly on the test because I failed to study enough.”
“I did well on the test because I am smart.”
“My class is failing this points because the parents are not…”
“My class is failing on these points because I was distracted and so taught other items.
“I didn’t reach my sales goals because the market is down.”
“I didn’t reach my sales goals, because, gosh, I just didn’t spend the time contacting prospects that I should have.”
How can you model optimism for your staff?
How can you refrain from optimistic errors when doing management planning?