The Polite Press
 A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.
 Vol II, No 5
June 2003 

In This Issue

1. President's Corner
2. Classes for Summer
3. Rudeness in the Classroom – this time it’s the Adults!
4. Licensing program off to a great start!
5. First run of “got manners?” Shirts are Sold-Out!
6. Parent Info Nights – Back by Popular Demand
 
 
 

President's Corner

Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:

Ah, Summer has begun! At least it has in the Gregory household.

Depending on your point of view and the amount of time you have available to play with your children vs. support a family or keep control of your household, summer can be a terrific thing, or a parent’s three-month nightmare. Most likely, it’s something somewhere in between.

Our children all need time to relax, a break from the daily routine of getting up on time, getting dressed, getting to school and the beginning of a flurry of activity. The long, leisurely days of summer are a great time to do whatever you like, or simply do nothing.

Until, you hear the words that bring terror to the heart of every parent:

”I’m bo-rr-e-d…”

Kids with nothing to do become kids with too much time on their hands. And, that usually means they get into some sort of mischief. Or they spend the whole day watching television or playing on the computer. Not a great way to occupy yourself, especially with all the negative influences in the media and on the Internet these days.

So, does this mean you have to plug them into a summer camp or police them personally to make sure they keep busy and don’t get into trouble? Absolutely not! If you spend a little time up-front, you can come up with a list of “projects” they can do, with minimal supervision, and build a positive character at the same time?

Don’t believe me? Here’s just a few ideas:

  • Make tissue paper flowers to deliver to a local nursing home together.
  • Offer (don’t expect to get paid) to mow an elderly neighbor or single-parents’ lawn.
  • Form a “trash patrol” and pick up litter on your street. Have a contest to see who gets the most pieces (be sure you equip your kids with rubber gloves, plastic trash bags, and even tongs, for picking up nasty items safely).
  • Create a “Random Acts of Kindness” club where you come up with a “scavenger’s hunt” type of list and see how many of these activities you can perform (anonymously, of course) in a given period of time.
  • Visit the local library and see if they need help sorting donated books for an hour. You’ll learn a lot more about how the library works, plus you get to work in a cool spot during a hot afternoon.
  • Contact a neighbor and see if they’d like you to come and read to a younger child for an hour once a week, or offer to do crafts

There are hundreds of other ideas that take only a little time, little-to-no money, and teach our kids that the most valuable thing they can give is of themselves. Even if they don’t do it willingly at first, once they get into their task and see the rewards they get in terms of smiles and looks of appreciation, they’ll see how important “thinking outside” really is!

Happy Summer to you!

Corinne Gregory
President and Founder, The PoliteChild, Inc.

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 Classes for Summer


We’re continuing to update our summer schedule of classes. We don’t plan to offer as many classes in the next month or two as we typically do because families may find it difficult to attend multi-week courses when they may be traveling part of the summer months.

We presently have three sets of classes forming in the Woodinville area, two for “EarlyLearners” (pre-school/kindergarten) and one for “GradeSchoolers” (ages 6-9). For more details or to register for classes, see our Washington Classes page.

We are also processing requests for special classes, especially “custom” classes offered to neighborhoods and community centers (a big draw LAST summer). This is a great option if you want to compress a class to fit into 4-weeks or if you want a class in a location we are not currently offering public classes. To arrange for a custom class, please contact us by email at info@politechild.com or by phone at 425.844.9711.

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 Rudeness in the Classroom – this time it’s the Adults!


“Whatever.”

That’s the response one local teacher received scrawled across the bottom of a note she had written to a parent; a note pleasantly explaining a miscommunication that had occurred. “The funny thing is,” reports the teacher, “the problem started by the student’s mother incorrectly filling out a field trip form. I explained what had happened in a non-accusatory fashion, bent over backward to try to accommodate her wishes, and this is the response I get. How rude.” The teacher says it is not the first time she’s felt offended by parents who communicate disrespectfully.

It’s not a one-way street, however. A Bothell mother says she very politely and respectfully asked her second grade son’s teacher for information about his behavior in class. “I knew I was asking several specific questions, and I know how busy teachers are, so I said things like, ‘I really appreciate your time,’ and, ‘I know I’m being a needy Mommy right now.” The concerned mother reports getting the feeling she was annoying the teacher with her questions, and when she asked if the teacher thought the child might mature out of his disruptive behaviors, or whether she thought he was on the road to ruin, the teacher retorted, “I don’t have a crystal ball, you know.”

“I was so taken aback,” says the mom. “I would think the teacher would welcome my concern and involvement.”

The truth is, the teacher probably does have a strong desire for parental involvement. So why would she respond that way? And what of the field trip mother? What prompted her angry scrawl across the bottom of the teacher’s note? We can’t know for sure. Both cases probably come with their own histories to help explain the current situations, but the fact is, people forgot to mind their manners, and in parent/teacher relationships, the loser will always be the child. How can we prevent the erosion of this vital parent/teacher partnership?

The answer is simple, timeless, and what we all want our kids to remember: the Golden Rule. Parents must treat the teachers, and teachers the parents, the way they each would like to be treated themselves. The parent/teacher relationship is so vital to the child’s academic success that when problems arise, the adults must communicate directly, clearly, and respectfully in order to find a solution. Failure to do so will only create another problem on top of the first, and the chances of resolving either will rapidly decline.

Parents and teachers must trust that each party is doing their best to ensure the child’s maximum growth. When differences arise, such as the parent disagreeing with the teacher’s discipline technique, the parent should speak directly and respectfully to the teacher, prefacing expressions of concern with an expression of appreciation for the teacher’s efforts and an acknowledgement that the teacher’s decision is not necessarily wrong, just different from what the parent would have chosen. A little respect for differences and for professional judgment goes a long way in securing this important relationship. Further, the parent should never bypass the step of speaking civilly to the teacher first, rather than going directly to the principal, an act of mistrust most teachers find highly offensive. The principal should be involved in minor problems only after attempts at reasonable solutions with the teacher have failed. After all, if the shoe were on the other foot, wouldn’t you prefer that a client try to resolve a conflict with you first, instead of going directly to your boss?

Similarly, when a teacher shares concerns with a parent about a child’s behavior or progress, the teacher must proceed with empathy. He should comment on the difficult job of raising children, and mention with sincerity the child’s strengths. The teacher must assure the parent that he is not suggesting faulty upbringing to be the root of the problem; rather it is the child’s choices and actions that are causing the negative situation. Often, pleasantly asking the parent for advice on how to work with her child can help break down a wall of defensiveness that might be building, especially when the natural sense of needing to protect our offspring surfaces.

We all want our children to be respectful and polite in any situation and to learn to resolve conflicts peacefully and without malice. We need to be sure we practice what we preach in relationships between parents and teachers because our children are watching, and they are wonderful sponges for repeating the behaviors they observe. Let’s be sure they’re observing us doing it right!

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 Licensing program off to a great start!


The ink on the Licensing Package for the PoliteChild program is barely dry and we are already seeing strong interest nationally. We are presently in discussions with several individuals in the Bay Area, on the East Coast, and one internationally who are interested in starting their own PoliteChild businesses. Our first training session for instructors and licensees is being scheduled for August, perfect timing for those who want to be ready for the back-to-school crowd come September!

For more information on the benefits of becoming a licensed provider or PoliteChild classes, feel free to visit our dedicated web page at http://www.politechild.com/company-license.htm.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a licensed PoliteChild provider, please send an email to us at info@politechild.com with the words "License Prospect" in the subject line. We'll be sure to get you further information right away, and get you on the road to having a PoliteChild business of your own!

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 First run of “got manners?™” Shirts are Sold-Out!


Our first run of “got manners?” T-Shirts that we sported at the Northwest Women’s Show has been exhausted. Originally, we hadn’t planned to offer them for sale, but so many people asked us where they could buy them that we decided that we should! And, now they’re gone!

If you missed your chance to buy your very own “first edition” shirt, we have good news. We’re ordering more! They should be available for shipment before the end of June.

You can pre-order your shirts in either adults or children’s sizes securely and confidentially through our PoliteChild store at http://www.politechild.com/store/storemain.htm.

These make great gifts and help reinforce the message that “Manners matter.”

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 Parent Info Nights – Back by Popular Demand

We have had many inquiries about our Parent Information Nights in the past month. We had purposely taken a break in May and June due to the winding-down of the school year. Our plan is to begin offering Parent Information Nights again starting in July. We’ll keep you posted when and where we’ll be holding them, but, in the meantime, if you are interested in having one of our staff come out to speak to your community group, church, synagogue, or service group, please feel free to contact us at any time! For more information on booking PoliteChild speakers to an up-coming event, please see http://www.politechild.com/rss-refs.htm.

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