THE CRISIS OF THE FAMILY IS THE CRISIS OF THE NATION…WE THEREFORE HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO GET IT RIGHT IN THE HOME-FRONT.
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I have always said that Knowledge is a critical resource for victory at any level. Knowledge is the foundation of intelligence. And intelligence is required for any level of warfare regardless of the kind. Knowledge is more than important. It takes you beyond where you can ever imagine, it reduces your error rate, it keeps you safe and helps you maximize your greatest potential. Knowledge is the take off point of any kind of value. In the 2000s, knowledge is the essential tool for managing complexities. Because when complexities are intensified, there is always a greater and greater demand on knowledge. Equally, the greatest challenge of society is the family institution. And the family institution has suffered consistently all through history simply because the children of yesterday who lacked adequate upbringing are now the adults of today and will create the children of today and the adults of tomorrow, and the vicious cycle continues.
So, ignorance is the common ingredient all through generations. But note that this ignorance is not the ignorance of all things but the ignorance of key things. Just as we do not need a bunch of keys to open a door but the right key, so we do not need the knowledge of all things to organize the society. Instead, we need the knowledge of key things; and the family is key. The crisis of the family is the crisis of the nation and the crisis of the nation is the crisis of the family. And if there is any tool that weakens the potential to build great families, it is the place of correction. If you ask me, what is the one thing that if you can learn, can increase your capacity and potential for success in building a great family? What can increase your success potential by almost 70% as far as building a family is concerned? I believe the answer will be: correction. You see, misbehavior is a constant and error is nature. Perfect behaviour eludes humanity so much that even you as a full blown adult sometimes still misbehaves and makes clear mistakes. Our individual and collective peace must not; I repeat must not be tied to perfect behaviour since none of us can be perfect. If this is true, correction also becomes critical to manage a reality as constant as imperfect behaviour. If you lack the skill to administer correction, you will be miserable, frustrated and depressed.
All through history, families have never been destroyed until they get the correction skill wrong. Now, there is this terrible assumption that punishment is correction. Punishment is never correction. Correction is a skill while punishment is an imbalance in nature in that any fool can punish. You don’t need formal training to know how to punish, you only need to be born; but you need education and training for you to know how to correct; it is not a gift of nature. It is a skill that must be learnt. While everybody can sleep for example and anyone can determinedly wake up at a particular time, to perform surgery, you need more than determination. Determination without skill in the surgery theatre is murder…clean murder and an honest and sincere jail term. Determination to correct without skill in the home is a vice. The goal of punishment is to acknowledge your hurt and to share the pain of your hurt with the offender. It does not by any means transform. On the other hand, the goal of correction is to bring the offender to a human state of acknowledgement of error, remorse, and to govern behaviour in a way that transforms the offender and blesses both his immediate environment and society at large.
Studies have shown that over 90% of parents never correct in their lifetime, they only punish. The reason they don’t correct is simply that they don’t know how.. See, “The plaster should be no wider than the sore.” It’s as simple as that. Punishment never fits the offense and never governs behaviour. To achieve that, actions must be carefully thought out before they are stated or applied, and even then it will be necessary to modify and refine them as they are being used. That’s correction and that takes learning. In the following example, I illustrate how correction and consequences should be selected, applied, and enforced, and describe the principles of behaviour upon which the procedure is based.
Correction demands that we make the decision of whether we want to be right or we want to progress. Punishment underscores how right you are, but correction creates transformation and progress. Now, a 10-year-old boy has been leaving his bike lying in the driveway. His parents frequently have to stop their car, get out and move the bike, then get back in the car and drive into the garage. Not only is this annoying, but a less careful or alert driver might hit or run over the bike. A punisher will give the boy a piece of his mind, a good scolding, a heavy dose of logic, a spanking, and the pronouncement that “If I ever see that bike lying in the driveway again, you won’t see it for a month—if you ever see it again!”. See, this action is obviously worse behaviour than leaving the bike in the driveway.The better way is to decide in advance exactly what the boy is expected to do with his bike. This is correction. It might be as simple as having him put his bike on the lawn, against the house, beside the porch, or out of the way in the garage. This then becomes the expectation of the boy’s behavior. Knowing in advance the expectations of his behavior is fair and is of primary importance.
Next, the parents must decide how to state their expectation to the boy so he fully understands it, and can demonstrate that he understands it! This is best accomplished in a simulation or role playing exercise. But on this altar of punishment, families have been ruined, children wrongly programmed to become malfunctioning adults and society is always the victim. I hope i’ve helped a bit.
The goal of punishment is to acknowledge your hurt and to share the pain of your hurt with the offender. It does not by any means transform behavior. On the other hand, the goal of correction is to bring the offender to a human state of acknowledgement of error, remorse, and to govern behaviour in a way that transforms the offender and blesses both his immediate environment and society at large. Studies have shown that over 90% of parents never correct in their lifetime, they only punish. Correction is about using positive reinforcement to govern behaviour. But without knowledge, the tendency of parents is to use negative, coercive, punitive means of stopping or eliminating behavior rather than positive, pleasant, reinforcing means of strengthening behavior. I mean, a child misbehaves, the parent immediately scolds, spanks, or screams at the child, and the inappropriate behavior stops. The immediate consequence of the scolding, spanking, or screaming was exactly what the parents wanted: the child immediately quit misbehaving. The parent has successfully acknowledged his or her hurt and has swiftly shared the pain of the hurt with the child. Correction has not taken place. The child has not learnt anything. Furthermore, the parents’ behavior (that is, scolding, spanking or screaming) is also strengthened in the parent because it seems to be effective; hence it will certainly reoccur in the future when the child misbehaves again. And the child will misbehave again because the scolding, spanking, or screaming will have only a short-term effect on the child’s behavior.
Sadly, parents don’t see the reoccurrence of the child’s behavior as being a function of the scolding, spanking, or screaming. Rather, they will recall only that the scolding, spanking, or screaming stopped the behavior before and it will stop it again … and again and again and again and again and again. The point is that the more parents scold, spank, and scream to control their children’s behavior, the worse the children behave. You can be certain of it! The more parents scold, spank and scream to control their children’s behavior, the more their children’s behavior will invite scolding, spanking, and screaming because negative consequences are ineffective ways of controlling children’s behavior. Similar studies in classrooms have revealed exactly the same thing. The more teachers scold and scream at students to sit down and be quiet, the more the students will be out of their seats and rowdy. It is predictable. It’s science. It works even between adults. Even between husband and wife; between a senior colleague and a junior colleague at work. It is everywhere. And it is a scientific and automated behaviour in most people. The victims also learn that behaviour and use it within their own area of influence.
Now, correction is the better way. It delivers a far more positive result. Correction is to take advantage of the many opportunities that occur every day to attach a positive consequence to an appropriate behavior. That positive consequence can come in the form of a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back, a word of encouragement and praise, a smile, a wink, a token in a jar or a point on a good behavior record, and the list goes on. But what is really wonderful about this approach is that when used appropriately and consistently, the incidence of inappropriate behavior goes down dramatically while the incidence of appropriate behavior increases dramatically and is sustained. It is also predictable, and is also science. You can bet on it. It is lawful. It is a well established matter of fact that in homes where parents smile at their children, laugh with their children, have lots of positive and appropriate physical interactions with their children (hugging and kissing and patting), and talk to their children a lot in pleasant, supportive, nonjudgmental ways, the frequency of problem behaviors in those families goes down, down, down, and the frequency of pleasant parent-child relationships goes up, up, up!
As parents, we must not be seduced into believing that because we get immediate results from scolding, spankings, and screaming, that these are appropriate ways to respond to inappropriate behavior. They are not. In the long run, behavior responds better to positive than to negative consequences. Don’t be blinded by immediate, short-lived results, or by immediate, short-lived gains. There is an economy in child rearing, a price we must pay. If negative, aversive, coercive methods of control are not working (and they never do for long!), try a better way. Behavior seldom improves with harsh and negative consequences. Rather, plans to escape, despite the risks, are continually being devised. And so it is with children and coercion: they desire to escape, which they do joining gangs, cults, embracing substance abuse, jumping on any opportunity to leave home, dropping out of school, and just giving up! Parents tell me repeatedly, “I punish the child for that rotten behavior time and time again everyday and the kid continues to do it!” But in the light of this principle of human behavior, what is the matter with that analysis of the child’s behavior? The answer is simple and clear: The parent isn’t correcting the child at all. Rather, the child’s behavior is being reinforced. What the parent thinks he or she is doing is one thing but what the parent is really doing is another. The only way one can know what the parent is really doing to the behavior is by observing what happens to the behavior subsequently. If the behavior persists, no matter what the parent thinks he or she has done to it, the behavior has been reinforced. Punishment has taken place but correction has not occurred in the least. Rather, the behavior has been strengthened, and a behavior that has been strengthened is a behavior that will probably reoccur. Conversely, if the behavior gets weaker, or stops, then it has been corrected.
“When used effectively, positive reinforcement is the most powerful teaching tool we have.” Great parenting is possible. But on this altar of punishment, families have been ruined, children wrongly programmed to become malfunctioning adults and society is always the victim. I hope i’ve helped a bit? Let me get your feedbacks here. Stay sharp!
The wisdom in human exchange is to understand that all relationships require work. Peace has a price. And prejudice has a cost. But those who must see and experience value must know that harmony and cohesion does not just occur. They take time, patience, and two people who are willing to put in the effort. Today, I want to share the things I believe your marriage and your family needs from you. Note that I’m not talking to a couple now. No. I’m talking to you alone. You are enough to create a turnaround in your home. I’m talking to you as the husband or the wife. Then, I’m also talking to those hoping to occupy either of these two offices soon. I’m talking to you alone.
Victory is personal, and once your part is played, you have the right to expect the energy of life to reorganize situations and circumstances to begin to work in the direction of your dominant expectations. It’s nature. It’s the design of life, and it works. For me, these things are debts that you owe. In the best marriage, pain and disappointments do exist, but a resolve must also exist such that no matter how demanding it is, you will also focus more on the parts of it that bring joy, meaning and fulfillment.
Top on the list of what you owe your marriage is ATTENTION. You owe your relationships, and indeed your marriage and your family the attention their individuality deserves. Attention by the way is the creative and passionate use of your time, energy and resources in the direction of those you consider valuable. And neglect based on lack of attention damages marriages far more often than malicious abuse. There’s nothing more vital to the bond you share with your spouse than simply being there.When we pay attention to each other, we breathe new life into each other. With frequent attention and affection,marriages flourish, and the individuals grow stronger. This is the side effect of a good relationship – we help heal each other’s wounds and support each other’s strengths.Marriage is worth the extra effort. And it’s wise not to wait for your spouse to do what you like before you share your time, energy and resources.
Next is TRUST.The entire fabric of our society – people working, living and breathing together – relies on the positive beliefs we have about each other – a subtle, inherent trust. This trust is the glue that holds every peaceful civilization together. Which is why trust is the greatest compliment you can give a person.The only way to build this trust, or find out if someone is trustworthy, is to trust them. When you do this in marriage, without a doubt, you’ll automatically get two results: A friend for life or a lesson for life. Either way, the outcome is positive.
Next is HONESTY. When your intentions are good and your cause is just, honesty will always help you. When your heart is open to love and truth, your lips will not utter lies that haunt you. When couples are honest with each other up front, the truth may hurt sooner, but the suffering always dies faster, and out of this suffering comes growth and blessings.Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed. Be honest about what you want in a marriage and how you want to be treated. The bottom line is that marriages don’t hurt. Lying, cheating and twisting reality until it screws with someone’s emotions is what hurts. Never mess with someone’s feelings just because you’re unsure of your own. If you are unsure in any way, be sure to say so. Always be open and honest.
Next is LOYALTY. Stand by those you care about in their darkest moments. Brave the shadows alongside them until they’re able to find the light. You can’t promise to be there for someone for the rest of their life, but you can sincerely be there for them for the rest of yours. When it comes to marriage, remaining faithful is never an option, but a priority.
Next is TEAMWORK. The most important trip you will ever take in life is meeting others half way. You will achieve far more by working with people, rather than working alone or against them.That’s what healthy relationships are all about – teamwork. The strength of every marriage depends on the strength of its members, and the strength of each member depends on the quality of their relationships.Anyone who helps you to make your half-hearted attempts more whole-hearted through passion, love and teamwork, is a precious friend and teacher. You can be such a person for your spouse. Connect with him or her, and conquer the world together. This is a great gift in marriage.
Next is ACCEPTANCE. There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Even if it seems perfect now, it won’t always be. Imperfection, however, is real and beautiful. It’s how two people accept and deal with the imperfections of a relationship that make it ideal.Since perfect behaviour does not exist in any human, our best love cannot and must not be earned by perfect behaviour. The quality of the happiness between two people grows in direct proportion to their acceptance, and in inverse proportion to their intolerance and expectations. They must appreciate their similarities and respect their differences. Then, Forgiveness is one of the greatest virtues to which you should always seek. Imagine if everyone you knew was willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that you all would not be able to solve?The willingness to admit that we are all human, and to forgive sincerely, is a sign of your emotional strength and maturity. Ultimately, this forgiveness is for you. It sets you free from the shackles of the past so you can take the future in stride.If it is true that not one of us is perfect, then ignoring to forgive must be a silly choice. All I have shared here is nature. It’s the design of life, and it works.
Finally, I want you to know that after over a decade of marriage, my best lessons are that God is faithful, love is a choice, peace is always within reach and marriage is science. I hope I’ve helped a bit. I wish you well. I wish your marriage well. Stay rooted…