The Polite Times™
|A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.|
|Vol V, No 5||
President’s Corner – Manners and Morality
Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:
I was recently asked about how PoliteChild programs can separate “manners” from “morality.” My answer to the individual asking asking – a public school counselor – was that there’s a difference between teaching general “morality” as part of teaching proper basic conduct and social skills, and imparting a specific set of morals on students. It may seem like they both mean the same thing, but let me explain further to see if I can make it clearer.
Webster’s Dictionary defines “morality” as
Definitions 1 and 2 refer to a “general” meaning of morality where 3 discusses a specific set of values.
Social skills education would appropriately involve the first two meanings of “morality” – that of the generally accepted set of principles or behaviors common to most people in a given society.
What social skills education really shouldn’t do is try to impose any specific set of morals or principles on its student population. That’s where one could get into trouble.
For example, one group’s specific set of values might teach that it’s good manners to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” and to make “Christmas gifts” a generic term for holiday gifts. After all, “Christmas Day” is even a national holiday in many countries. But, this practice could be potentially offensive to groups for whom celebrating other holidays – Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc – are very important. So, to be sensitive to other’s beliefs, we teach students to honor and respect other people’s individual beliefs.
While this is a minor example, there are untold ones that are even more fraught with potential conflict. Consider topics of “conflict resolutions” beliefs of pacifism, “right to life” vs. pro-choice, what constitutes “marriage,” or whether gay/lesbian/transsexual lifestyles are appropriate. All of these topics would fall under the third definition of morality, and would not be appropriate for a generally-accepted manners or social skills program to get into. Certainly a Christian-based program would adhere more closely to traditional Christian values, and in that arena, that’s completely appropriate. But, again, those are specific interpretations and applications that would not be acceptable, or even permitted, in a public school or publicly supported organization. That just wouldn’t be right.
So, when someone asks me how can PoliteChild programs separate teaching “manners” from teaching “morality” I have to honestly answer that we don’t. You can’t. It’d be like saying, “well, we’ll teach you how to treat other people kindly, but we won’t teach you why it’s important to be kind.” But, these lessons in morality are based on definitions 1 and 2. We do not say, “Gee, you’re supposed to be kind to other people because the Bible/Talmud/Koran…or your favorite political representative says you should.” We are careful to work within the universal framework of values, principles, and morals that the majority of humanity accepts and supports.
Finally, one important point: there’s one other reason we don’t teach any specific values/morals. To do so would potentially put us at odds with our students’ parents if the parent’s beliefs differ from what PoliteChild would then teach. And, since we view parents as crucial partners and leaders in the quest of developing outstanding social skills, we always want to include the family unite, not set it aside.
Hopefully that clears this tricky question up for you. If you have any further questions about this topic – or want to submit one of your own – we’d love to hear from you! You can always reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corinne Gregory, President & Founder
By Jay Fiske, President, Northwest Benefit Auctions
Does your school currently host an annual auction? If so, the fastest way to fund your PoliteChild program is by incorporating a “Raise the Paddle” feature during your live auction. Sometimes this part of the live auction is also called “Fund an Item,” “Emotional Appeal,” “Cash Call” or other similar names. Regardless of what it is called, it always works. Essentially, the process is one of collective bidding, where your auctioneer will ask all your guests to help raise a certain amount of money for a specific cause.
I have been employing this technique at my auctions for nearly 15 years, and it ALWAYS works. Here is why: Your guests are there to help you toward your goal. We know this because you invited them, and they showed up! Having “opted in” to your event, they will try to find a way to participate in making your event a success. For many, it is bidding in the silent auction, buying a raffle ticket, or bidding in the live (oral) auction. One thing we know for sure however is that not every potential bidder will be converted to a winner. In other words, most of your audience will get out-bid on the item or items you offer – it is the nature of an auction. So, for many, they are left with a budget they arrived at your event planning to spend, only to not have that happen. This is where the “Raise the Paddle” comes in.
About half to two-thirds of the way through your live (oral) auction, have your auctioneer introduce your school principal, or favorite teacher, or a counselor. You want someone who can explain the PoliteChild program (in two minutes or less) and why it is going to make your school a better place for their kids to get an education. Explain how students that spend more time on task learn more, and teachers who spend less time dealing with discipline problems are happier and that improves retention. Be sure to cover how reduction in bullying will increase attendance by the students, and how social skills learned in the PoliteChild program will benefit the students for a lifetime. You might even use some of the statistics that show PoliteChild in schools increases test scores.
After this two minute “set-up,” the auctioneer will then ask the audience to help fund the PoliteChild program by making a direct, cash contribution toward this very worthwhile program. He or she should start at the highest level where you are certain you will get at least one bidder to hold up their numbered bid paddle. This level can be determined ahead of time by networking with the people who are most likely to make a larger contribution. If you can get a commitment from someone to “prime the pump” at a high level that is best. Then, from there just work your way down in even amounts. For example, if you start at $2500, the next level would be $1000, $500, $250, $100 then perhaps $50 as the lowest level. As you come down in value, the number of people who will raise their paddle to make a pledge will go up. So, if you had just two people pledge at the $2500 level, you will have more at $1000, and by the time you get to $100 and then $50 you will have bid paddles up all over the room! Just write down the bid number at each level (the auctioneer reads them off slowly at each level), and then charge them along with their other auction purchases. It works!
I have seen this work in every auction it has been tried, and it is a routine part of the auctions I conduct across the country. I cannot remember a time it earned less than 10% of the auction income, and generally it will bring in 20% or even 30% of your total revenue, all in about five minutes! Typically, schools use this technique to fund computer labs, libraries, playground equipment, faculty enrichment programs and scholarships. It is often used as well to fund teaching assistants and tutoring programs. The PoliteChild is an ideal program to be funded this way because it has the essential elements needed to cause the bidders to want to help: It is an unfunded program but one that will benefit all children equally; All concerned have something to gain including the teachers, administrators, students and parents; It is a program that can be directly measured in terms of its effectiveness; Finally, it is easy to explain the cost/benefit equation, so the audience can visualize the results if only the program would be funded.
Try this at your next school auction. Your audience wants to help. They will appreciate that you gave them the opportunity to do so. They cannot all be successful bidders, but they can all be winners by helping to give the students a program that will benefit them for a lifetime.
Jay Fiske is the founder of Northwest Benefit Auctions, Inc. He is
a nationally known auction consultant who has helped schools and other
non-profits raise hundreds of millions of dollars in his 16 years exclusively
conducting charity auctions. His techniques have been adopted by hundreds
of schools from coast to coast, resulting in significant increases in
their auction income. He is also co-founder of MaestroSoft,
Inc. a company
that supplies auction management software to schools nationwide. Jay
conducts a very popular Auction Workshop once a month at various locations
across the country. For more information about a Workshop in your area,
or for additional tips on how to get the most out of your schools auction,
visit his website at www.auctionhelp.com.
One of the regular features of this newsletter is
a book section where we review and comment on books we feel are
valuable to our parents,
school partners, and our public supporters. Frequently,
these books are suggested to us by our readers. Publishers, we’re happy
to look at your books, too. Contact us by email or phone at 425.485.4089
for how you can submit a book or manuscript for review! We’ll
take a look at it and let you know if it’s suitable for inclusion!
EspeciallyPolite, the not-for-profit sister organization of The PoliteChild, has announced its first on-line auction. The goal of this fund-raiser is to raise money which will be used to support public schools and other not-for-profit educational organizations committed to students ’ social skills development.
Many schools have expressed the desire to offer PoliteChild programs because they recognize the benefits to students and staff from decreased discipline issues, and are encouraged by the improvements in academic test scores. The biggest challenge is that schools and districts frequently have challenges funding new endeavors, regardless of how worthwhile they may be.
EspeciallyPolite’s initial goal of raising $30,000 will go toward grants for schools adopting PoliteChild programs. Funds above and beyond the projected goal will go towards research and development of curriculum and materials targeted for the company’s initial special needs’ population of children suffering from Autism and Aspberger’s Syndrome.
The online auction and donation site can be found at http://especiallypolite.maestroweb.com/ and is available now. Schools interested in participating in
the grant process will be required to apply directly through
The PoliteChild. For more information, contact The PoliteChild
via email at email@example.com or by phone at 425.485.4089.
The company plans to review grant applications and begin distributing
funds by the end of January 2007.
|Holiday Manners Survival Guides – Available NOW|
Our Holiday Manners Guides have been such a hit in years past, so much so that we have offered them as a permanent feature from our website. Still, there are many readers who are discovering them for the first time and we get requests for them throughout the year.
To download a copy of the “Holiday Social Survival Guide” for parents and kids that is appropriate for your child’s age, simply go to the home page at www.politechild.com and scroll down on the right of the page where you’ll see the image of the booklet. Click on the image and follow directions to be taken to the download site. And, feel free to share the information about the guide with friends, family, or anyone you think can benefit! It’s our way of saying “thank you” to our friends and supporters. We do ask, of course, that you not use the guides or the information in them in a commercial way: it just wouldn’t be polite, now would it?
We do offer Holiday Manners classes that can be held in your community
center, school, or even your home if you want an interactive teaching
session! Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for classes
in your area, or to inquire about hosting a holiday manners class of
Not a day goes by without someone asking us where they can join a PoliteChild class in their area. The good news is, our regional reach is expanding, but it’s not nearly enough! One option available to parents, community or school leaders, and/or local organizations is to host a PoliteChild class of your own. Yes, we will travel to YOU to provide the best in social skills education to your group!
But, you may wonder, how do I do this? It’s easier than you may think.
To “host” a class, you are responsible for finding and booking a location and the group to teach. For most classes, we require either a student minimum or, for a custom class, we usually have a set fee that must be met. Locations vary depending on the size of the group, but can include: homes, community or church centers, school classrooms, etc. We schedule the date around when you organize it, and then we arrive on the date(s) and conduct the class, bringing all the necessary materials.
As a thank you for organizing the class, we allow you to send one child free for each “minimum threshold” you meet – this may be for a certain number of students (for example, with a “Parent Organizer” specials where you can send one child free for every five additional students you bring in, if we have a local resource in your area)! Most of the time the organizers choose to send their own child, but you can send other kids you designate as a “sponsorship” if you prefer.
If travel is involved, we have other programs that host us “workshop style” for a reasonable fee. Again, we make it easy and financially practical for your group, and we can accommodate nearly anyone’s budget.
For more information on this or any PoliteChild programs, can reach
us at email@example.com or by phone at 866.485.4089.
|Products for HomeSchooling or Consumer Use|
We are continually getting calls, emails and other inquiries about whether we have products for use as home-school curriculum or in-home use. The answer is “yes!” If this sounds like you, you may be interested in our independent training product, -- the SocialSmarts for Gradeschoolers DVD – available for purchase directly from our website !
While we do take email and phone orders for this product, we thought we’d make it easy for anyone who wanted instant access to our products to order the DVD Instructor set directly through the PoliteChild Store. And, it’s the featured product on our home page!
To see exactly what it is you get, and to order the full 4-DVD Instructor program, go to http://www.politechild.com/store/storemain.htm. You’ll be able to add this new tool to your shopping cart, along with our popular “got manners?” T-Shirts, “PoliteChild on Board” stickers, and more…
These products, while available for public use, are licensed materials, which means that they are sold on a “right-to-use” basis, much like computer software. As a licensed product, you may purchase the curriculum for limited use – home or small-scale homeschooling, for example. Student/parent materials need to be purchased from The PoliteChild; the materials in the Instructor binders, for example, may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission from The PoliteChild.
However, should you want to build a PoliteChild business of your own,
or offer PoliteChild courses as a commercial endeavor, we do have a
full licensing program available. For more information on the licensing
program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at
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Do you have something you’d like to see us cover or have a question you’d like us to answer (privately or through our newsletter)? Is there someone you think should have our newsletter but doesn’t currently subscribe? If so, contact us at email@example.com or by phone at 866.485.4089!
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