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The Polite Times 
 A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.
 Vol V, No 4
June/July 2006 

In This Issue

1. Pesident's Corner - Liberty through Discipline

2. PoliteChild Coming to the e-Learning Arena

3. Book Series Review - "First Facts - Manners"

4. No PoliteChild Class in Your Area? Host One Yourself!

5. Parent Tip of the Month: RSVPs

6. Problems with Phone/Fax/Website

7. Products for HomeSchooling or Consumer Use

8. PoliteChild in the News

9. What Would You Like to See?

 

President’s Corner – Liberty through Discipline

Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:

The summer season brings with it many holidays and celebrations. Interestingly enough, the official holidays – Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day – are all patriotic in orientation. Further, the events we as a nation, and truly as a world, are experiencing make the following piece I recently read even more appropriate, I thought, even though we’re talking about a different kind of “freedom” than the typical nationalistic kind. It appeared in the “Our Sunday Visitor,” a bulletin of a church I had occasion to visit, and I’d like to share some excerpts with you. I saw it as quite appropriate and timely, given both PoliteChild’s mission and what’s going on in the world around us. Consider its message a “two-fer”: two for the price of one!


     There was a woman who was obsessed with the idea of freedom. She never committed to times or dates on her calendar because she didn’t want to feel tied down. She didn’t wear a watch, so she was habitually late. The woman detested lists, She refused to plan ahead for meals before she went to the grocery store. As a result, she often ate more expensive, less healthful convenience food. At the mall, she bought whatever she wanted at the moment, and that made her feel free; but she was shackled with credit-card dept. The woman cleaned the house only when she felt like it, so she lived most of the time fettered by chaos and clutter. Though she was fond of animals, she resisted adopting a pet because she did not want responsibility to interfere with her sense of freedom.

     There was a man who also valued freedom. However, he found freedom through discipline. Cleaning the house regularly meant that his home never got extremely dirty. Cleaning did not feel like a huge task, and he had no panic when people stopped by unannounced. Before he went to the grocery store, he planned his meals for the week so he had ingredients on hand to prepare healthful meals. He managed his time well enough that he even found hours to volunteer; and he managed his money well enough that he had achieved financial independence and was able to make contributions to his favorite charities. Best of all, keeping commitments to family and friends gave him the satisfaction of knowing that he was reliable and surrounded by love.

This fits in with the saying we teach our teens and tweens in PoliteChild courses when they beg for greater freedom. It says that “with freedom comes responsibility, and you’re likely to get greater freedom when you show greater responsibility.” This is true of us “grownups,” too, isn’t it? Don’t we sleep better, breathe easier, feel less stressed when we know we’re “in line” with proper, responsible behavior. When we’ve taken care of business, there aren’t the ghosts that tend to keep us up at night. Pay your bills, do your laundry, keep up with correspondence and we don’t have this ever-increasing list of “to do’s” and incompletes to haunt us.

And, what do we need to do this: simple discipline. Keep up with the tasks while the list is small and they don’t become unwieldy. Spend only what you can afford – really afford – and you don’t have to worry about the bill collectors calling. Tend the weeds while there are only a few and “weeding” can seem like a simple pastime, not an overwhelming chore.

The converse is true: the longer you put off what needs to get done, the bigger the job seems. I’m guilty of this myself right now, as I’ve put off writing this newsletter to completion because I’ve rationalized it by saying I was going to spend time with my daughters today while they’re on summer break, and I’d get to it tomorrow. Well…several “tomorrow’s” later, and I’m tardy. And, every day, completing my part of the newsletter has hung over my head. Sigh…

The “remedy” is simple, but it requires…discipline. We all deserve and need a break now and then, a chance to drop responsibility and relive the inner child. That’s fine. But, the general rule should be: work before play, discipline before dancing. True freedom comes from knowing everything that needs to be done is done, and we are at liberty to do what we want now.

As always, I love getting your comments – positive and negative – as they help us grow and develop. You can always reach me directly at corinneg@politechild.com. Happy summer to you all, and I’ll see you in (less than) a month!

Corinne Gregory, President & Founder


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  PoliteChild Coming to the E-Learning Arena

 

Historically, our greatest frustration has come from receiving so many requests from parents about our courses and not being able to offer a provider local to their area. Demand has always out-paced our ability to deliver, and we’ve diligently sought ways to solve this dilemma.

Certainly, our growing network of national licensees is helpful, but there are always places where parents want our courses, but we can’t grow fast enough to help.

Well, our reach is growing. And, in exciting ways. Ways that don’t require more “manpower” to provide more courses to more people.

For this reason, we are extremely excited to pre-announce a new endeavor. We’ve inked an agreement with a major e-learning provider and are in the process of transforming some of our revolutionary social skills curricula to the digital world. Our “digital partner” is the leader in third-party online education platforms that has typically managed and tracked all aspects of its client organization's training programs. They have made their name by delivering customizable, measurable, and scaleable e-learning environments via the internet. They have typically offered "off the shelf" proprietary web-based curriculum, while working to offer customizable solutions to fit any training need, as required.

We’re currently in the process of working with our new affiliate to convert “SocialSmarts” (our introductory course) to web-based courseware. Stay tuned for the official announcement, along with more information on general availability, pricing, and other details, but what we can tell you right now is that this is one way we are fulfilling our mission: to bring social skills education to everyone and anyone who can benefit.

For more information, contact us at info@politechild.com.

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 Book Series Review: “First Facts – Manners”

 

We stumbled across a real find the other day at a local library: a new series, published in 2005 by Capstone Press on Manners. These are a set of seven books, each covering manners in a different situation or place. The titles are:


      Manners at a Friend’s Home
      Manners at a Restaurant
      Manners at the Library
      Manners in the Classroom
      Manners on the Playground
      Manners on the Telephone

We were able to find three of them – Classroom, Playground, and Library – at the local library, and had a chance to read them all. The books start out with a short table of contents, highlighting the concepts to be covered such as, “Being Patient,” “Playing Fair,” “Being a Leader.” Some of the concepts are repeated from book to book – “Being Kind” and “Being Patient” are some – but they are described in terms of the situation: how can you “be patient” at the library, specifically, as opposed to being patient in the playground.

The books appear to be geared to Kindergarten through early grade-school age, with simple, short sentences. There are good color photos that help illustrate the points being made. Words that are significant are set in boldface type, and appear at the end of the book in a short glossary.

There are a number of “fun facts” that appear throughout the book, such as how many libraries there are in the United States, or how many students and teachers there are in our country. At the end of each book is an activity that is intended to reinforce the lessons in the book. The activity for the “Manners in the Classroom” title is a “Kindness Box” where students are asked to make a box for storing little pieces of paper on which they share where another student was kind. The teacher is encouraged to read the pieces of paper at the end of the day. This activity was one of the better ones, in our opinion, linking the message of the book to hands-on.

All in all, the books were a good read: we’d recommend them to parents of young school-age children and they’d be a good edition to a school library. Even better would be for parents to read these with their children and talk about how this relates to their daily lives. For example ask your child, “Chris, how is this like or unlike what your day was like in class today?” And see where it goes. It’s a great way to reinforce what IS working in your child’s life and in their use and experience of social skills, and also a good way to talk about where there are areas for improvements.

We are always happy and eager to review books you think would be of value to our readers and our PoliteChild community. Have a suggestion or a book you’re curious about? Write us at info@politechild.com and we’ll give it a read! 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!

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 No PoliteChild Class in Your Area? Host one yourself!

 

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 info@politechild.com or by phone at 866.485.4089.

 

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 Parent Tip of the Month: RSVPs

 

This may seem like a “grownup” tip and not something appropriate for children, but it’s never too early to teach your child the fine – and relevant – art of RSVPs. Especially when you consider how few adults remember to respond properly when invited to events. And, consider this: it’s the biggest complaint we hear from people, regardless of age: why don’t people EVER respond to RSVPs or take their social obligations seriously?

The rules of RSVPs are simple, yet so few people really obey them. They are:


      Respond when you’ve been invited – to a party, to a wedding, another event
      Respond promptly; most RSVPs have a date by which the host needs to hear back from you
      Keep your commitment when you’ve been invited – people are counting on you to be there or not, depending on how you’ve responded
      Unless there is a grave emergency (illness, death in the family, unavoidable conflict) go if you’ve said you would
      If you are unable to attend, call your hosts as soon as you know you can’t make it

Why is this so important? Well, for one thing, there are many functions that require a headcount. If your child is invited to a birthday party, perhaps the facility or special performance requires a headcount or can only accommodate a maximum number of guests. Your hosts NEED to know if you’ll be there so they can let the organizers or venue know so the right number of gifts/favors/slots are available. If too many people have confirmed, maybe there’s a waiting list. If you no-show, someone who wanted to attend but couldn’t might have taken your place.

As events increase in importance – graduation parties, weddings, bar or bat mitzvahs, etc. – so does the implication of “no shows” or, worse, “no hears.” Every “slot” costs money – sometimes a great deal of money. If you don’t let your hosts know you don’t plan to attend a wedding, it may cost $25, $30, $50 or more per person for every one the bride and groom have to account for. If you’ve told them you’ll be there and then don’t show up, it may ultimately cost them hundreds of dollars. Worse yet are those folks who don’t let anyone know one way or another – how to you handle this, as a host? Assume the “no responders” aren’t going to show up and be short on meals or favors if they do suddenly appear unannounced? Or, plan that a certain “overage” may be required and then be left holding the financial bag when the extra guests don’t turn up? Wedding cakes are ordered in specific sizes – often you’re faced with a decision of having cake for 150 guests or 200, based on the size of the cakes. You don’t buy “one or two” extra servings; you buy the next increment of cake bigger or smaller depending on a range of servings you expect. A 10% no response rate can mean a great deal either way.

So, when your child receives the next birthday party invitation or when you receive your next invite to a significant event, use that opportunity to educate your child on how to respond and why it’s important.

Do you have a parenting tip or a question you’d like help with? Then email us at info@politechild.com and it may find its way into an upcoming PoliteTimes column!

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 Problems with Phone/Fax/Website

 

Some of you may have noticed that we’ve had some challenges with our phone/fax and other telecommunications systems in the pasts several weeks. We’d like to apologize if this has caused you any inconvenience. Trust us, it’s been a real PAIN for us.

We experienced some problems with our phone provider, Verizon, which affected pretty much everything we did – phones were “out of service” when they shouldn’t have been, website was unavailable for a time and our incoming/outgoing mail appeared to be working when, in fact, it wasn’t, our California fax lines rang into voicemail instead of ringing to the fax machine.

It appears everything is straightened out now, but we KNOW we’ve had people trying to reach us who couldn’t. And, we have a new fax number in California (seems when they “shut” the fax number down, inadvertently, they also gave the old number away!). For your reference, it is: 760 674 5846.

Again, we apologize sincerely for any inconvenience this may have caused you and we appreciate your understanding and continued support!


 

 

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 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 info@politechild.com or visit our website at http://www.politechild.com/company-license.htm.

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 PoliteChild In the News

 

Here’s where PoliteChild can be seen in your area!

July 15, 2006: PoliteChild quoted in Seattle Times article on “Moms meeting Moms.”

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 What would you like to see?

 

The PoliteTimes is continually adding more readers and gaining a broader audience, but we’re continually striving to offer you the right information, news and tips for our newsletters that are interesting and relevant.

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 info@politechild.com or by phone at 866.485.4089!

We appreciate all those folks who have already written us to give us feedback. We do read each and every one of your letters and take your input seriously! If you don’t get a response from us in 48 hours, please email us again. We’re finding that SPAM filters seem to be overly efficient in blocking out correspondence sometimes, even the correspondence that’s wanted and welcome!

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