Yesterday’s commonplace book quotation reminded me of a great book I read this summer. It was called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. In this book, he tells us that all of our problems in life are simply situations. How we react to these situations is what causes the drama and pain in our lives. He goes on to tell us that there are three things we can do in every situation. The three things are; we can accept the situation, we can fight to change it, or we can run away.
I presented this model to my class to help them make wise and safe choices. I demonstrated it with a personal example. I related to them a time when I was outside doing a duty at recess time. I had to deal with a situation where a student swore at me. This student would not listen to reason or anything I had to say. I remained calm and tried to just talk. This student continued to swear and swear at me. So I had three choices.
1) I could accept this and let her swear at me. I don’t need to let words bother me. Who cares if she’s swearing at me?
2) I could take her into the office and make sure that she sees the principal for her actions.
3) I could walk away and just ignore her.
Of course, before you make any decision, you should think about it, weigh the pros and cons, and then act. Once again, three things.
1) Accepting it – If I let her swear at me. She will think it is okay to show disrespect. Other students might see this and begin to show disrespectful behaviour to me as well. I don’t deserve to be treated this way at school and probably shouldn’t put up with this behaviour.
2) Change it – I can take her into the office so she realizes how serious this is. The principal will make it clear that she needs to be respectful and not swear at school.
3) Walk away – If I walk away, I am actually giving her permission to swear at me. Maybe she will realize it was wrong, maybe she won’t. It could keep happening.
So now I have weighed my options and can safely chose to go with number 2. It is the best decision. Of course this model is overly simple. I could have changed it several different ways. I teach my students that the best decision is a fair and respectful decision to both parties. Taking her to the office is fair, respectful, and safe. Once again, three important things.
We should all be able to remember the Power of 3. Three things to do in any situation (Accept it, Change it, Walk away.) Three ways to make a decision (Think about it, way the pros and cons, and then act.) Three ways to know if you made the right choice (Is it fair, respectful, and safe?)
I might be overly simplifying Tolle’s message but I really think this works. It is a great model for making decisions. It is easy to remember. It helps us to realize both sides and make a fair, respectful and safe choice.