Atrium Biocognetics » Learning Center PresentsBrave New Child Peace MuseumUnderstanding the Conditioned Mind

Be a Peaceful Victor, Not a Victim of Violence

Download Program

12 Ways to Act With Respect

A Special Guide for Parents To Teach at the Martial Arts School - Twelve Lessons – Ages 8 to 14

A Note to Parents

The Martial Arts Code of Conduct is a system of social skills dedicated to living a life of peace and good will. Although it may seem odd to teach these together with the physical arts of self-defense, the Code is, in fact, the foundation of all martial arts, whose ultimate goal is to help prevent conflict. Cultivating these skills reduces the chance that young people will react out of fear to personal threatening situations, such as being bullied. Combined with the confidence that comes from knowing how to protect themselves, the skills in this program can help young people learn how to live with respect, and to understand and resolve conflict peacefully.

We teach our children that “good manners” are important, but we don’t always tell them why. Good manners are more than habits we “should” have. For the most part, they allow us to present ourselves in a positive light, and help us demonstrate respect — for other people as well as for ourselves — something we need in this world more than ever. That’s why we’ve written this curriculum, to help your child benefit in these ways.

Before starting the lesson plans, tell your children that they are about to embark on a new journey. Do your best to impart an air of mystery and excitement to evoke their sense of adventure. Begin by showing them the following warning, which we hope will open your child’s mind to new thinking.

WARNING:
Awareness and new observations may be hazardous to bad manners. This class may cause you to experience turbulent feelings of good will and respect.

I am interested in helping you make this program a success. Please feel free to contact me by phone (800-848-6021) or e-mail ([email protected]). For other helpful information, you can check our web page: www.youthpeaceliteracy.com


The Success of This Program!

The success of this program depends upon helping young people understand what prevents respect. And what prevents respect is conditioned thinking — thinking that confuses the mind and creates conflict within it.

Here is an easy formula to remember as you help your children understand how conditioned thinking prevents respect.

The Three “E’s”

Explanation
This is a general definition of what conditioned thinking is. We talk about “conditioning” and how we’ve all been taught to think and act in certain ways. But that’s all we do — talk. We offer reasons to explain why we speak and act the way
we do.

Example
We offer a personal example of our conditioned thinking. We recognize that we’ve been disrespectful, and offer an example of some way we’ve been “conditioned” that has caused us to speak and act in disrespectful ways. This is called hindsight.

Experience
We are aware — in the moment — of the effect of our conditioned thinking and how it’s preventing us from being respectful. This is an actual observation of our thinking as it’s happening. This is called insight.

It is this third level — insight — that has the potential for helping us become free of conditioned thinking that prevents respect.

All three of these levels are important for young people to understand. But most important is this third level — insight — that allows us to see what prevents us from being respectful toward one another. Once your children achieve this kind of insight, they are able to observe their manners in action, and make the decision to act in respectful ways.


Lesson 1: How Do You Like To Be Treated?

Breakdown of Lesson #1:

  • What are “good manners”?
  • Do you like to be treated well?
  • Do you like to treat others well?

Materials & Tools Needed:

  • Tool 1A: Chalkboard and chalk, or paper and magic markers
  • Tool 1B: Read before using: “Manners Are Mental!”
  • Tool 1C: Read before using: “I’m Showing My Manners!”

Note to Parents: Let your children know that you are going to ask many questions, and there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Any “mistake” creates an opportunity to learn something new. Some statements are in italics. These indicate notes or possible responses and meant to help any child who can benefit from a little prompting.

What Are “Good Manners”?

Ask the children:

  • What do you think it means to have “good manners”? When and where have you seen good manners? At school? At home? At a special event you attended? A restaurant?
  • Have you seen someone be helpful? Have you heard someone say, “please” and “thank you”? What else?
  • How did it make you feel to hear and see people speak this way? Did you feel good? Bad? Strange? Awkward? Resentful?
  • Did these actions teach you something? If so, what?

Tell your children:

  • When you use good manners and act respectfully — toward yourself, your family, your friends, people in your community, toward all living things — you create a strong, positive mind!
  • The more you are able to think in polite, kind, respectful ways, the stronger and the more positive your thinking becomes.
  • When you think and speak in respectful ways, you demonstrate that you are wise and responsible.

Tool 1A - Activity: Manners Paint a Picture!

Use a chalk board with chalk, or paper and a magic marker. Ask your children to write on the chart or board some words or phrases that they believe are offensive, hurtful or destructive — words that demonstrate BAD manners.

The following are some possibilities. You can suggest as many as you like, but it’s best to let your children come up with personal experiences. There are no “right” or “wrong” responses.

“BAD” MANNERS!

  • Take this!
  • Here!
  • Go away!
  • Get out!
  • You’re stupid!
  • Do it yourself!
  • No, I won’t!
  • You’re wrong!
  • Why should I help you?
  • Get me that drink!
  • I don’t care!
  • What you want isn’t important!
  • I want it now!
  • Leave me alone!
  • That’s MY book!

Then, ask your children to write on the chart or board complimentary or constructive words or phrases they believe demonstrate GOOD manners. Again, it’s helpful to let them come up with their own.

“GOOD” MANNERS!

  • Please...
  • Thank you!
  • You’re welcome!
  • Is it possible....?
  • Would you like to...?
  • Would it be okay if...
  • Could you ....?
  • Do you mind if I....?
  • Hi! My name is....
  • What’s your name?
  • May I please have...?
  • Thanks for coming!
  • Good to see you!
  • You look good today!
  • No, thanks...
  • Thanks for asking, but...

Do You Like to Be Treated Well?

Ask your children (encourage all responses; give your children time to think):

  • What martial arts moves, do you think, help you demonstrate that you are well mannered?
  • Do you think bowing demonstrates good manners? If so, in what way? Isn’t bowing just bending forward?
  • Do you think that martial arts physical skills are all you need to show that you are well mannered?

Tell your children:

  • Martial arts moves give you PHYSICAL skills that help you gain control of your body. These physical skills give you the confidence to defend yourself.
  • Martial arts MENTAL skills help you think of ways to prevent a conflict before it becomes one.
  • Learning to think and act in well mannered ways contributes to the strengthening of your mental skills, and to preventing conflict.

Tool 1B - Activity: Manners Are Mental!

The purpose of this activity is to show your children that good manners can help resolve a conflict situation. Also, learning to use good manners is a mental activity. Physical skills are important, but are best used when they are based on intelligent thought.

Select, from examples A through E below, ONE conflict situation (or ask your children which of the five below they would like to explore). If you have time, you can do more.

  • You are on vacation, staying in a hotel, and you want to play your portable CD player really loud, even though it’s late at night.
  • You are eating dinner and you are served food you don’t like.
  • You accidentally knock over a lamp in someone’s house. The owner says, “You klutz! What did you do THAT for?”
  • You’re in a restaurant with your parents, and their cell phone rings.
  • You are called into the principal’s office, because someone you know has been attacked, and some people think you did it.

Ask your children the following questions about the situation you’ve chosen:

  1. What’s one way to handle this situation using what you think are “good” manners?
  2. Is there more than one way to handle this situation?
  3. What do you think would happen if you handled this situation using “bad” manners? How do you think “good” manners could help you in this situation?
  4. Does fighting back or getting angry require careful thinking before you speak? Or do they usually happen when we’re not thinking?
  5. What do you think works best in any conflict situation — a quick response, or thinking before speaking or acting? Both? Why do you think so? Are mental martial arts skills what you need first? Why do you think so?

Do You Like to Treat Others Well?

Ask your children (encourage all responses; give them time to think):

  • Do you treat others well? Name how you’ve acted in respectful, well-mannered ways today — at school, or at home.
  • Do you think that giving this kind of respect requires you to think before you speak — think before you act? How so?
  • When you act in a well-mannered, respectful way, is it your opinion that you’re more likely to get what you want? Why?

Tell your children:

  • In our day-to-day activities, we aren’t always aware of how we’re acting. There may be times when we’re being disrespectful, and we don’t know it.
  • We need to practice respect before we earn the right to get it!

Tool 1C - Activity: I’m Showing My Manners!

Have as much fun with this activity as you can. It’s good for children to catch themselves in the act of using questionable manners, and it’s okay for them to laugh in recognition of their human imperfections.

Tell your children that you’re going to begin an unfinished sentence that needs to be completed.

You can use the following, or make up some appropriate ones of your own. You know your children best!

  1. “Sometimes when you talk to me, I don’t listen, because.....”
  2. “I know I’m not being polite when I.....”
  3. “When I walk down the sidewalk with my friends, I don’t think about making room for people walking the other way, because......”
  4. “When you talk on the cell phone while driving, I think to myself that isn’t safe — plus, you’re not being polite, because....”
  5. “The polite way to answer the phone at home is....”
  6. “When I see people who look ‘strange’ to me, what I think is....”
  7. “There’s a saying, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ Visitors to our country should speak our language. But I think that when I’m traveling in a foreign location.....”
  8. “I know that it’s polite to open a door for someone before I walk through the doorway. I don’t always do it, because....”
  9. “The most discourteous behavior I’ve ever seen is....”
  10. “The best manners I’ve ever seen happened when....”

Add your own sentences that apply to your particular children — but make them about manners!


Summary:

  • We all want to be treated well — to be respected.
  • In order to get respect, we have to give it.
  • Practicing good manners strengthens our mental skills!

Congratulate your children on completing the first lesson!


Lesson 2: How Do You Like People To Treat You?

Breakdown of Lesson #2:

  • What Is roleplay?
  • Using roleplay to help us.
  • Your mind is a powerful weapon!

Materials & Tools Needed:

  • Tool 2A: Two copies of roleplay, “Bad Manners at Work!”
  • Tool 2B: Three copies of roleplay, “Treat Me Like a Winner!”
  • Tool 2C: Make chart: “Manners I Experienced Today!”

What Is Roleplay?

Ask your children:

  • When you want to become a great athlete, a top-notch musician, or a successful writer — how do you make that happen? You have to work at it! Practice!
  • If you want to become a black-belt martial artist, what do you have to do? Work at it! Practice!
  • If I told you that there’s a great way to practice becoming the best martial artist you can be — right now — would you want to know more about it?
  • Do you think it might have to do with something more than physical skills?

Tell your children:

  • To get really good at anything, we have to practice.
  • One way to practice using our best manners is through roleplay. We take turns playing parts. One day you play a person with good manners; another day, you play a person with bad manners. Sometimes you play yourself; sometimes, someone you may know.
  • Roleplay gives us the chance to practice using skills in lots of different situations. Each time we practice, we get stronger, and smarter. Learning from our mistakes is a powerful way to gain mental strength.

Tool 2A - Activity: Bad Manners at Work!

✓ BEFORE THE ROLEPLAY, ask for two volunteers to roleplay the parts of Brewster and Condor. (Make two copies of roleplay.)

Download Roleplay

✓ Tell the volunteers to get the full benefits of roleplaying by really getting involved in the parts they are playing.

✓ Bring to their attention the words in parentheses, which are instructions to the roleplayer, and not to be said out loud.

✓ Give volunteers a minute to read silently, as you tell the class:

  1. Notice the thoughts and actions of both characters in this roleplay.
  2. Notice who is thinking ahead and who is not.

✓ DO THE ROLEPLAY (next page).

✓ AFTER THE ROLEPLAY, ask:

  1. Did this roleplay show you one person with bad manners? Two people? One with bad manners and one with good?
  2. Do you think Brewster meant to harm the people who got hurt?
  3. Do you think Brewster was just focused on his own desire and didn’t stop to think about other people?
  4. Do you think that sometimes we’re all like Brewster — we get caught up in what we want to do, and we forget there are other people around who could be hurt by our actions?
  5. Do you think Condor is a thoughtful person? Why do you think so? What makes Condor “thoughtful”?
  6. Do you think more or less of Condor for being thoughtful? Does being thoughtful make people “nerds”? Why do you think so?

✓ Thank your children for participating.


Using Roleplay to Help Us

Tell your children:

  • When we roleplay, we practice what we might do in a certain situation. We get to see a situation from all sides, not just our own.
  • In this way, roleplay helps us understand where our manners come from, and what we can do to improve the way we use them.
  • Roleplay is a fun activity we can use in school with our friends, and at home with our family.

Ask your children:

  • Do you think there are advantages to playing the role of someone whose opinion is different from yours? How so?
  • Can you learn from someone different from you?
  • Do you think playing the part of another person helps you understand that person’s thinking? Is that good? Why?

Your Mind Is a Powerful Weapon!

Tell your children:

  • Your mind is the most powerful weapon you have!
  • When you learn to use your mind to stop conflict before it begins, you become very powerful.
  • Practicing good manners is a way to strengthen your mind and to stop conflict before it starts.

Ask your children:

  • If you throw a punch and hurt someone, is there a chance you’re going to hurt your hand, too?
  • Do you think bad manners are like that? Do they hurt everyone? Do they hurt not only the person who’s treated badly, but also the person who’s acting in an offensive way?
  • Do we humans sometimes not think before we act? What’s an example of a time you acted without thinking?

Tell your children:

  • A good way to figure out how to act toward others is to ask ourselves how we like people to act toward us.
  • If we all acted toward one another the way we all like to be treated, we’d probably live in a more peaceful world.
  • While we all know pretty well how we like to be treated, we don’t often spend time thinking about what it means to treat others well.

Tool 2B - Roleplay: Treat Me Like A Winner!

Before the Roleplay:

✓ Ask for three Volunteers to read a new roleplay situation as Pilar, Sachi and Arta. Give the Volunteers a moment to read their scripts so they understand the parts they’re supposed to play. If they’ve never done this before, help them understand what they’re supposed to do.

Download Roleplay

✓ If you prefer to pre-plan this class, you can give copies of the script to the Volunteers the day before class and ask them to study the parts so they can read them well. You may want to give them instruction on what you hope to get out of the roleplay.

✓ Explain to the Volunteers that it’s important for them to get into their parts and to read with enthusiasm.

Do the Roleplay (see next page).

After the Roleplay:

✓ Ask your children:

  1. What’s the first sign of bad manners that you recognized in this roleplay? What words or phrases gave the speaker away?
  2. Do the speakers know this person they’re discussing? Do they have first-hand experience with this person? Are they judging this person? How can you tell?
  3. Why would Pilar and Sachi act this way toward someone they don’t know? Do you think it makes them feel superior in some way?
  4. Do you think Arta acted with good manners? Why do you think so?
  5. If you were going to treat someone like a winner, how would you treat that person? What exactly would you do? Do you think we should always treat people like winners?

✓ Thank Volunteers for doing a good job.


Ask your children:

  • Do you think there are times when we believe we’re stating a fact when, in fact, we’re expressing an opinion?
  • Do you think that’s part of bad manners — judging, assuming, or expressing an opinion before we have all the right information?
  • Do you think we act in prejudiced ways and judge people because we don’t understand their thoughts or actions?

Tool 2C - Activity: Manners I Experienced Today!

Put up a chart in the classroom: MANNERS I EXPERIENCED TODAY. Every day invite your children to add words and phrases to one side of the list — “Winner” — or the other side — “Loser.”


✓ Tell your children:

  • One way to recognize when we’re using appropriate manners is to take a good look at the words we use. Sometimes the words we use give away our manners!
  • After going through this list, put up your chart and add to it daily!

✓ Ask your children:

Which of the following statements would you put under “Winner” remarks, and which would you put under “Loser” remarks? Why?

  1. “He’s stupid!”
  2. “She should do what I tell her, because I’m the one in charge.”
  3. “I don’t agree with them, but they do have some good ideas.”
  4. “Our ideas are better; they should change theirs.”
  5. “We should discuss our ideas; maybe there’s some common ground.”
  6. “Can’t you ever do anything right?”
  7. “There MUST be a reason that kid is acting that way.”
  8. “Anyone who believes that is a fool!”
  9. “You’ll never amount to anything!”
  10. “You might want to re-think that approach, and here’s why.”

Summary:

Read all of the following to your children.

  • To get mentally stronger, we have to practice.
  • Every time we practice using manners, we get stronger and smarter.
  • Roleplaying is a way to understand the kinds of manners we use. We see a situation from all sides, rather than just our own.
  • Our mind is the most powerful weapon we have.
  • When we learn to use our mind to stop conflict before it begins, we become very powerful.
  • Bad manners are based on judgment; good manners are based on understanding others’ thoughts and actions.
  • By using good manners, we can stop conflict before it starts!

Congratulate your children on completing the second lesson!


Lesson 3: Imagine Being Spoken To With Respect!

Breakdown of Lesson 3:

  • Do we protect, or do we learn?
  • Using our imagination to achieve something real!
  • Strengthening our thinking in positive ways!

Materials Needed:

  • Tool 3A: A copy for each child of “Violent and Disorderly Actions,”
  • Tool 3B: A copy for each child of “Twelve Ways to Act with Respect,”
  • Tool 3C: Cut “A Bag of Manners” statements into strips

Do We Protect, or Do We Learn?

Ask your children:

  • Is it sometimes difficult to decide whether you want to protect yourself from a situation, or learn from it?
  • Can you think of a time when you decided to protect yourself — perhaps because you were scared of the consequences? What happened?
  • Can you think of a time when you decided to take part in a situation — and even though it was scary, you learned something? What happened?
  • What was an important factor in your decision? What did you learn? Do you think it’s “bad” manners to protect yourself? Why do you think so?

Tell your children:

  • The martial arts is a system of self-defense, developed over many centuries, designed to be:
    1. A way to protect us.
    2. A healthy physical fitness program.
    3. A means to understand ourselves and go beyond the violence and disorder that enter our lives every day.
  • You may not have guessed this, but manners play a big part in going beyond violence and disorder.
  • When we develop an understanding of why human beings act in violent and disorderly ways, we learn to think before we act.
  • By examining our manners, and those of others, we learn why certain actions may cause people to act in violent ways. This knowledge helps us discover how to act at the highest level of understanding — with respect.

Tool 3A - Activity: Violent and Disorderly Actions!

In the left column are several actions that can be described as disorderly or violent. After you read each one, write your immediate response — the first thing that comes to your mind — to each action..

Disorderly or Violent Action

My Response to This Action

You want to watch your favorite TV show. One of your family members wants to watch something different.  
The phone rings at home. You think it’s one of your friends, so you answer and say, “Hey, worm-brain!” The caller turns out to be a business associate of your father.  
You are eating dinner in an ethnic restaurant. The restaurant’s chef serves the food and announces the custom of putting the first piece of food into your mouth, with his hand.  
You are traveling in a foreign country, and someone in your group loudly makes fun of this country’s traditions.  
Someone who is one or two people in front of you walks through a doorway and lets the door slam on the person in front of you.  
Driving on a superhighway or freeway, a driver, who’s obviously in a hurry, jumps in front of you, causing the driver of your car to slam on the brakes.  
A bully passes you, pushes you into the street and yells, “Out of my way, stupid!”  
You’re in a crowd of people. A fight breaks out and people start punching each other. Someone calls your name, and you look to see that person coming after you.  

✓ Ask your children:

  • Who wants to tell their response to the first situation? Encourage ALL responses. Compliment students on their thoughts and for being courageous enough to think for themselves.
  • What’s your response to the next situation? (Go through all the situations.)
  • How would you have responded to the chef in the restaurant? This is an actual custom in a middle-Eastern country. Did the chef use “bad” manners? Are there manners you would consider “bad” in any restaurant? Which, for example?
  • Do you think that with no time to think, we tend to respond more violently? Why do you think so?
  • Do you believe it helps us to think ahead in these situations, so that when they really happen to us, we’ve had some practice?
  • Were all of these situations examples of “bad” manners? “Loser” manners? Why do you think so?
  • What kind of manners have you seen lately that would give you strong feelings about the person who used those manners? Were they “winner” manners or “loser” manners?
  • Do you believe this person, or these people, used this kind of manners because they might have been afraid of something? Like what, for example?
  • Do you get nervous about using proper manners in an elegant restaurant, or when you’re with people who are different from you in some way? What kinds of thoughts cross your mind in these situations?
  • ! Do you think that when we get nervous, or when we’re afraid of something, that this is when our “bad” manner show up?

Using Our Imagination to Achieve Something Real!

Ask your children:

  • If you discovered there was a new theme park in town that had a wild ride — something different you’d never experienced before — would you instantly hate it?
  • If a new automobile came out that was more powerful, more beautiful — different from any car you’d ever seen — would it scare you? Or would you want to take a ride in it?
  • What makes something or someone different unappealing or scary to us? Why would someone who looks, thinks or acts differently be less exciting than a new flavor of ice cream, a new outfit, or a new car?

Tell your children:

  • Imagine that there is a martial arts code of conduct on manners that we can all live by every day!
  • Imagine that it is possible to act with respect toward every single person on Earth!
  • Imagine that every person on Earth is able to act with respect toward you!

Tool 3B - Chart: Twelve Ways to Act with Respect!

The highest goal of the martial artist is to stop a fight before it starts. Thinking before we speak or act — deciding to use our best manners, with strength and respect — is one of the best ways to stop a fight, because this stops the fight inside us! If we stop a fight brewing inside us, then we’ve already prevented a fight outside us!

THINK!

1. Think about how you like to be treated.
2. Think about how you like people to treat you.
3. Imagine being spoke to with respect.
4. Make the decision to think before you speak.

SPEAK!

5. Speak as you would like others to speak to you.
6. Ask questions politely: “Make I please....?”
7. Offer information in a caring, considerate way.
8. Thank people who are helpful to you.

ACT!

9. Act toward others as you would like them to act toward you.
10. Offer assistance when and where you can.
11. Act in a way today that will make you proud tomorrow.
12. Give people the greatest gift — respect.


Expanding Our Thinking While Working Our Body

Tell your children:

  • By now, you surely know that the highest goal of the martial artist is to stop a fight.
  • No matter how a fight begins, we can stop it before it starts by using “Twelve Ways to Act with Respect.”
  • It’s good to remember that if we don’t stop a fight before it starts, that fight could harm someone for life — physically, mentally or both.
  • Rather than “put down” bad manners we see in others, it’s best to offer assistance when and where we can.
  • Rather than act badly when someone acts badly toward us, we strengthen our minds when we can turn bad manners into a positive action.
  • Think of someone’s “bad” manners as a chance to do something good!
  • Expand your thinking into new dimensions!

Ask your children:

  • Do you think it’s possible to understand our bad manners if we never look at them or talk about them?
  • Do you think it’s important to look at any actions that promote conflict situations, so that we can prevent them?
  • What kind of “bad” manners have you seen this week? Anything you can add to our “Manners I Experienced Today!” chart?

Tell your children:

  • It’s important to remain fair and impartial when exploring the causes of “bad manner” situations. This takes practice.
  • Whether or not we’ve personally experienced these situations, it’s our job as human beings to understand how it happens.
  • When we look at “bad manners” — in our friends and family, in ourselves, in the world around us — and are able to recognize them, we have already begun to stop them! Isn’t that amazing?

Tool 3C - Mental Sparring: A Bag of Manners!

✓ Take the following statements — each of them, an expressed fear — and cut them into strips. Add your own, if you like!

✓ Put these strips of paper into a paper bag, and shake them up. Ask each child to dig into the bag and select one strip, and then finish the state-ment. (If you’re working with a small group, have them select one at a time, and repeat as many times as you like.) Make this fun! But instructive too!

Download Paper Strips

✓ Congratulate children on their honesty and willingness to learn about how their actions and reactions often arise from fears they have.


Summary:

Read all of the following to your children.

  • Wanting to protect ourselves from fear, ignorance and day-to-day pressures is a natural instinct — a way to survive.
  • The Twelve Ways to Act With Respect can help stop a fight before it starts, and help us survive mentally as well as physically.
  • Conflicts occur every day. All of them are based on one simple factor — fear.
  • It’s our job to understand how bad manners happen. Once we know how they happen, we can prevent them.

✓ Congratulate your children on completing the third lesson!


Lesson 4: Make The Decision To Think Before You Speak!

Breakdown of Lesson #4:

  • Thinking before we speak creates awareness!
  • Awareness creates positive and respectful thoughts!
  • Respect stops conflict before it starts!

Materials Needed:

  • See Tool 4A: Make 3 copies of “My Stopping Place!”
  • See Tool 4B: Make a copy for everyone of “Flipping Images!”
  • See Tool 4C: Bring a bag, cut into strips: “My Actions Affect Everyone!”

Thinking Before We Speak Creates Awareness!

Ask your children:

  • Where do manners come from? Are we born with them? Are we given them as presents? Do we learn them from others?
  • Why do you think people teach us about manners? Do they want us to be polite? Thoughtful? Aware? Why do you think so?
  • Do you think your family teaches you manners, because your actions reflect on them? Do you think your family teaches you manners, because they
  • believe manners will help you have a better life? Do you think they’re right? Why do you think so?
  • When we make a decision to use manners in our daily life, do you think we become more aware? Why would becoming more aware be important?

Tell your children:

  • When you see someone using improper or “bad” manners, do you think: “That person is dumb!” Or do you think: “I wonder why that person is unaware?”
  • If I name a person you know, and I tell you I think that person has bad manners, there is a “place” inside you that either questions what I’ve said, or accepts it as true.
  • Think of a place inside your body that you might consider your “stopping” place — the place where you make decisions. It might be in your head, in your chest, or in your gut. Wherever that place is inside you, you need to go there when you see someone take an action that you consider inappropriate.

Tool 4A- Roleplay: My Stopping Place!

✓ BEFORE THE ROLEPLAY, ask for three volunteers to roleplay the parts of Sleepy, Cranky and Wary. (Make copies of roleplay for all.)

Download Roleplay

✓ Tell the volunteers to get the full benefits of roleplaying by really getting involved in the parts they are playing.

✓ Bring to their attention any words in parentheses ( ), which are instructions to the volunteer, and not to be spoken out loud.

✓ Give volunteers a minute to read silently, as you tell the class:

  1. Watch these kids as they ride a train.
  2. Notice how they act when they realize that there’s no one around to tell them what to do, or how to behave.

✓ DO THE ROLEPLAY (next page).

✓ AFTER THE ROLEPLAY, ask:

  1. Did any of these characters go to the “stopping” place inside them – the place where they stop to think?
  2. Was Wary the only one who went there?
  3. Did you see any evidence of poor judgment? If so, where? On whose part?
  4. Did any of these characters seem to take joy in acting differently than they would at home, or at school?
  5. What do you personally think of their behavior? Were they having fun? Were they acting disrespectfully?
  6. Do you think sometimes, even though we’re having fun, it’s important to remember to think first — and to act with respect?

✓  Thank your children for participating.


Awareness Creates Positive and Respectful Thoughts!

Ask your children:

  • What do you think happens inside your mind when you think only of what you like, and never about what anyone else likes? Does it create conflict? If so, what kind of conflict?
  • If I think, “That is the dumbest person I’ve ever met in my life!” — am I creating conflict in my mind? Am I then likely to act according to my thoughts?
  • If I act this way, am I likely to forget to go to my stopping place to ask: “Are my thoughts true?” “Is that person really dumb?” “Am I as smart as I think I am?” “Am I hurting that person’s feelings?” “How would I feel standing in that person’s shoes?”
  • If I think, “That person is acting dumb — I wonder why he’s acting that way,” am I creating conflict, or am I creating awareness?

Tell your children:

Conflict is created with such thoughts as:

  • “That person is foreign. I’m not saying a word!”
  • “That person is a nerd. I don’t want to be associated.”
  • “That person is better looking than I am, and I don’t want to be compared.”

Awareness is created with such thoughts as:

  • “That person is foreign. I could learn something about a new culture!”
  • “That person looks nerdy. I wonder what’s going on inside that brain!”
  • “That person is better looking than I am. Maybe I could learn some clothing and hairstyle tips!”

When our thinking is positive and respectful, the conflict disappears, and we’re open to learning instead of protecting ourselves!


Tool 4B - Activity: Flipping Images!

✓ Tell your children:

  1. The purpose of this activity is to flip an image — from something negative to something positive! It’s great fun, because you can see your thinking as it changes, right before your eyes!
  2. Here is a sheet of paper with people’s comments in the left-hand column. What you’re going to do is read each one, and then change each statement into a positive, respectful one!

✓ DO THE EXERCISE on the following page. Give students several minutes to quietly write down their respectful changes. Then, ask for volunteers to read their changes out loud!

If you prefer, you can read them aloud, one by one, together, and ask for spontaneous changes out loud. But since this section is about thinking before we speak, it’s best to give children time to think on their own and speak afterward.

Download Exercise

✓ After doing the exercise, return to this page.

✓ If your children enjoy this exercise, take the time to let them make up some negative images of their own, and then change them into positive ones.

✓ REMINDER: Add to chart “Manners I Experienced Today,”. Remind your children to freely add to this list at any time.


Respect Stops Conflict Before It Starts!

Ask your children:

  • When you flipped the image from a negative one to a positive one, did it change your thinking? How so?
  • When you think and act from a negative, sad or angry feeling inside you, do you “throw” those feelings outside yourself and inflict them on other people?
  • What happens to your “awareness” when you change a negative thought to a positive one? Does your brain feel more alive? More focused?
  • When we act with respect toward another person, and that person acts with mutual respect toward us, is there conflict?

Tell your children:

  • There are many areas of disrespect people have created over the years. Some of them are based on prejudices and beliefs.
  • "Bad” manners or disrespect tend to separate us. They don’t provide us the opportunity to think about all the ways we are the same, about what we have in common.
  • "Bad” manners are due to human beings not stopping to think about what we’re doing! And how our actions affect others!

Tool 4C - A Mental Exercise: My Actions Affect Everyone!

✓ Cut the sentences on the following page into strips, and put the strips into a paper bag. Shake it up!

Download Strips

✓ Ask your children to pick a strip from the bag, and finish the sentence!

✓ Tell your children that this is “mental sparring”!

✓ Feel free to add your own strips to the ones included on the following page. Since you know your children best, you’ll know what they need to practice most!

✓ After you’ve gone through the strips, and hopefully had a good time laughing over the answers, ask your children:

  1. Do you enjoy finishing the sentences?
  2. Did you learn something from finishing these sentences? What, for example?
  3. Do you ever think about how your actions affect other people?
  4. Do you ever think about how others’ actions affect you?
  5. Is it your opinion that we think more about how others affect us, rather than how we affect others? Why do you think so?
  6. Is it your opinion that country leaders sometimes don’t think about how their countries affect each other? Do you think that this could be the cause of wars?

Summary:

  • There is a place inside our body that is our “stopping” place — the place where we make decisions. It might be in our head, our chest, or our gut. Wherever that place is, we need to go there when we see someone take an action that we consider inappropriate. We need to stop, and think.
  • When our thinking is positive and respectful, the conflict disappears. Then, rather than being afraid or wanting to protect ourselves, we open our minds to learning!
  • There are many areas of disrespect people have created over the years. Some of them are based on prejudices and beliefs.
  • Acts that employ “bad” manners or disrespect tend to separate us. They don’t provide us the opportunity to think about all the ways we are the same, about what we have in common.
  • More often than not, our actions affect others, and theirs affect us! Mutual respect stops conflict before it starts!

Lesson 5: Speak As You Would Like Others To Speak To You!

Breakdown of Lesson #5:

  • Listen to how others speak!
  • Listen to yourself speak!
  • Speak as you would like to be spoken to!

Materials & Tools Needed:

  • Tool 5A: Make two copies of roleplay,”Stop That Fight”
  • Tool 5B: Bring tape recorder for “Is That Me?”
  • Tool 5C: A copy for each child of “I’m Strengthening My Mind!”

Listen To How Others Speak!

Ask your children:

  • Have you really listened to other people as they speak? What do you notice about the volume of their voices, how long their sentences are, the way they express themselves? Encourage all responses; there are no “wrong” answers.
  • Can you sometimes read “beyond” the words people say? Does the “tone” in someone’s voice sometimes let you know whether that person is happy, angry, concerned about something else, concerned about you? How can you tell?
  • Do you think it’s helpful to be able to read “beyond” the words people say — to read “between the lines”? Why do you think so?

Tell your children:

  • We learn manners by watching and listening to other people.
  • Sometimes we learn good manners and sometimes we learn bad manners.
  • It’s important to be able to tell the difference, because when we use good manners, we are more likely to work well with other people as well as achieve our goals.
  • Even more importantly, with good manners we can stop a fight before it starts, and end conflict before it has a chance to begin!

Tool 5A - Roleplay: Stop That Fight!

✓ BEFORE ROLEPLAY, makes two copies of roleplay; tell your children:

  1. The more practice we get LISTENING to people, the better we get at dealing with them respectfully.
  2. The more practice we get WATCHING our thoughts, and going to our stopping place, the stronger our minds become.

Download Roleplay

✓ Ask for two Volunteers to read aloud the following roleplay between Tappan and Burnham, or do it with your children.

✓ TELL YOUR CHILDREN:

  1. Listen for where the fight begins.
  2. Listen for impolite, ill-mannered words and who says them.

✓  DO ROLEPLAY

✓  AFTER ROLEPLAY, ask your children:

  1. Was there a fight going on? How did the fight get started?
  2. Is Tappan the one who started the fight? How?
  3. What words, or statements, did you hear that started the fight?
  4. How do you think Burnham handled the fight?
  5. What do you think was the turning point, the place the fight stopped?
  6. Did Burnham use well-mannered, polite language to turn the fight around?
  7. Do you think Tappan inspired a “fight” feeling inside Burnham?
  8. Did Burnham go with the ‘fight” feeling, or stop and think.
  9. What happens when we stop and think instead of responding to a “fight” feeling that’s brewing inside of us?
  10. Do you think that utilizing well-mannered speech is helping in stopping a fight inside us? How so?

Listen To Yourself Speak!

Ask your children:

  • Have you ever heard yourself say something that you regretted at a later time? Encourage students to briefly talk about these times.
  • Was it a time when you did not stop to think about what you were going to say before you said it?
  • Are you ever AWARE enough to “stand outside yourself” and hear yourself speak?
  • Would you say you are a soft-spoken person? Loud? Aggressive? Fast talker? Thoughtful?
  • Have you ever noticed how you come across to other people? Do you think they’re interested in what you have to say? Offended by things you say? Respectful of what you have to say? Is the reaction you get different on different days?

Tell your children:

  • Speaking to and with other people is something we all do differently. We all have different, distinct personalities. There’s no “right” way or “wrong” way to speak.
  • However, good communication is the key to success in life. And good communication is based on respectful exchange of language between you and those at home, at school and in your community.
  • It’s time to hear yourself speak!

Tool 5B- Activity: Is That Me?

✓ Have handy a tape recorder. It can be a hand-held portable; nothing fancy is required — just a piece of equipment that is able to record voices, as clearly as possible.

✓ If there’s a small group, ask a child to choose one topic from below to talk about for a minute or two. Ask for three Volunteers to participate in an off-the-cuff roleplay in which they choose a topic to discuss, and then spend a few minutes talking about it — simply discussing their points of view on the subject.

✓ Here are the topics, or pick your own subject matter, perhaps something that you know interests your children.

  1. A sports event 
  2. A musical event 
  3. Current politics 
  4. Care for pets 
  5. Dealing with a bully
  6. A school event
  7. A favorite book
  8. The importance of manners
  9. What qualifies as a “bad” manner
  10. The highest goal of the martial artist

✓ Set the tape recorder to play, press the record button, and ask your children to discuss. Let this go on for as long as you think you’re getting a good example of each child’s use of language.

✓ When you call time, rewind the tape, and let it play out. Then, ask your children:

  1. How do you think you sound? Happy? Sad? Angry? Smart? Silly? (Ask other children if they agree.)
  2. Do you think you sound different from how you normally speak?
  3. How do you think you’re coming across to everyone?
  4. What do you think of the language you’re using? Good? Could be better? Do you think you’re using good manners?
  5. Are there any manners you spot — in yourself or others — that you think could benefit from change? Which ones?

Speak As You Would Like To Be Spoken To!

Ask your children:

  • What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?
  • What’s one of the best ways you can think of to speak to someone you know? How about someone you don’t know? Are they the same?

Tell your children:

  • One way to strengthen the mind is to make it think in ways that are different from the ways we usually think.
  • This often requires that we go to our stopping place, the place where we stop to think and make decisions.
  • Let’s practice going to our stopping place and coming up with some new ways to speak!

Tool 5C - Activity: I’m Strengthening My Mind!

✓ Pass out a copy of the next page to each child. Tell your children:

  1. Think of 10 things you said today, or questions you asked. It doesn’t matter who you spoke to, or how long you spoke. Just think of 10 things.
  2. Did you say, “Good morning?” “See you later.” “I don’t want any breakfast.” “Do I have to do that?” There must be at least 100 things you asked or said today. Let’s come up with 10 of them.
  3. On the piece of paper I’m giving you, write in the left column the 10 things you remember you said. It doesn’t matter whether you were angry when you said these words, whether you were sad, happy, complaining, loud, opinionated, bossy, helpful, polite or impolite.

Download Chart

✓ Give your children several minutes to write them down. After you call time, tell them:

Take a look at what you’ve written. Go to your stopping place and ask yourself:

  • “How well did I say that?”
  • “Was that the best way I could have asked that question?”
  • “Was I thoughtful when I asked that person that question?”
  • “Was I putting my best foot forward?”
  • “If I could go back, how would I rephrase that question?”
  • “If I were going to win an award for the most polite way to say something, would I need to change the way I said that?”

In the right-hand column, write, in the title box: “Ways to Say or Ask It Better!” Then, think of a “different” way to ask that question, or say that sentence — to make it stronger, more thoughtful.

✓ When your children are finished, read the comparisons out loud!


Summary:

  • When we listen to other people speak, we can often read “beyond” the words they say and sometimes “read between the lines.”
  • We learn manners by watching and listening to other people. Sometimes we learn good manners and sometimes we learn bad manners.
  • It’s important for us to decide — when we see other people — what manners are right for us.
  • When we use “good” manners, we are more likely to get along with other people.
  • When we use “good” manners, we are better able to achieve our goals.
  • One way to strengthen our mind is to make it think in ways that are different from the ways we usually think.
  • Thinking “outside the box” — in other words, differently than we or other people usually think — we can often stop a fight before it starts!
  • When we can do this, we have achieved the highest goal of the martial arts — end conflict before it begins!

Congratulate your children on successfully completing another lesson! Remind your children to add to the chart, “Manners I Experienced Today!”


Lesson 6: Ask Questions Politely: “May I Please...?”

Breakdown of Lesson #6:

  1. The art of asking a question.
  2. The strength you project when asking.
  3. Manners speak louder than words!

Materials Needed:

  • See Tool 6A: Cut into strips, “Wake Me Up!”
  • See Tool 6B: Do this exercise yourself before you work with your children.
  • See Tool 6C: Two copies of roleplay, “Read My Manners!” Also helpful to have a ball of string, hammer, and a copy of TV Guide.

The Art of Asking A Question

Ask your children:

  • What happens in your mind when I ask: “What are you doing?” Do any thoughts or feelings get stirred up? Encourage responses.
  • What happens in your mind when I ask: “What the heck do you think you are doing?” Are your thoughts or feelings different? Why do you think so? There’s a difference of a word or two, but isn’t it the same question?

Tell your children:

  • When we’re lost in our own thoughts, sometimes we act as if we’re asleep. We’re not experiencing what’s happening to us right here, right now, outside our thinking.
  • Acting on “automatic pilot,” we sometimes speak without giving a thought to good manners.

Tool 6A - Mental Sparring: Wake Me Up!

✓ Cut the questions on the following page into strips, and put them into a bag. Add your own strips, if you like. Shake the bag!

Download Strips

✓ Tell your children that each strip has a question that needs to be asked in a different way.

✓ Ask your children to read the strip out loud, then change it so that the question reads more thoughtfully, more politely, more focused on the person who’s being asked.

✓ Then, go through all the strips!

✓ When you’ve gone through all the strips, ask your children the following questions:

  1. Did you see a difference in the language you used to change the question?
  2. What’s the difference between the language on the strip and the language you used?
  3. When you rephrased the question, were you focused on the person you were asking? How did that change the question for you?
  4. Do you think it’s good to be AWARE of how we use language? Why do you think so?
  5. Can being aware of how we speak strengthen our thinking? How?
  6. If you had to name one new piece of information that you think has made your mind stronger, what would it be?

The Strength You Project When Asking

Ask your children:

  • Do you think a show of strength always comes from how developed our muscles are?
  • Do you think we can come across as powerful just by using intelligent language? In what ways?
  • Do you think bragging, gloating or being loud helps you come across as powerful?

Tell your children:

  • Sometimes we’re conditioned to believe that thinking and acting in bold, hostile ways projects an image of power.
  • In fact, thinking and acting wisely, carefully and respectfully projects greater power. It’s a mental power rather than a physical one.
  • The most powerful muscle we have is also the most powerful weapon we have: our brain.
  • We must question our conditioned thinking, and always do it in an honorable, respectful way!
  • As soon as we begin to question, we wake up!

Tool 6B - Activity: My Powerful Questions!

Ask your children to read aloud the following questions. After they’re all read, ask them to vote on the one(s) they think are the most powerful. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers, and the discussion that follows could turn into a healthy mental exercise!

  1. Are you going to give me your lunch money, or am I going to have to turn you upside down and shake it out of you, you punk?
  2. Since you’re well known for your knowledge about the martial arts, would you kindly tell us why the highest goal of the martial artist is to stop a fight?
  3. Does it seem to you that I’ve been acting on images I’ve been conditioned to believe?
  4. If we don’t get served pretty soon, I’m going to leave. What in hell is taking so long?
  5. If I said something awful to you today, would you still be my friend tomorrow?
  6. If I were your worst enemy, what could you do to turn me into a friend?
  7. If I have great mental strength, and great physical strength, is it possible that I may never have to fight?
  8. What’s so good about thinking before we speak? If I’m smart enough, shouldn’t I be able to spit out anything that pops into my mind?
  9. I understand why human beings fight each other, but do you think there will ever come a day when humans stop fighting each other?
  10. If you were me, what would you do to get stronger?

Manners Speak Louder Than Words!

Tell your children:

  • " We are going to do another roleplay.
  • " In this roleplay, pay attention to what the roleplayers do, as well as what they say.

Tool 6C - Activity Read My Manners!

✓ BEFORE THE ROLEPLAY, ask for two volunteers to roleplay the parts of Hansen and Dutch. (Make two copies of roleplay.)

Download Roleplay

✓ Tell the volunteers to get the full benefits of roleplaying by really getting involved in the parts they are playing.

✓ Bring to their attention words in parentheses, if any — which are instructions to the reader, but not said out loud.

✓ Give volunteers a minute to read silently, as you tell the class:

  1. Notice the thoughts and actions of both characters in this roleplay.
  2. Notice how actions sometimes speak louder than words.

✓ DO THE ROLEPLAY (next page).

✓ AFTER THE ROLEPLAY, ask:

  1. Did this roleplay show you one person with bad manners? Two people? One with bad manners and one with good?
  2. Who do you think had the best manners? Which had the worst?
  3. Did Hansen have a lot more to say than Dutch?
  4. Because Hansen said more, do you think that Hansen’s manners showed more than Dutch’s?
  5. Is it possible that Dutch told us more about Dutch’s manners than Hansen did — without saying anything?
  6. What do you think Dutch was feeling during this roleplay? Was Dutch happy? Irritated? Bored? What makes you think so?
  7. Do you think sometimes our actions speak a lot louder than the things we say?

✓ Thank your children for participating.


Summary

Read the following to your children:

  • It’s good to ask questions! Sometimes, however, the way we ask them can trigger a response we don’t want!
  • We need to wake up and speak with good manners.
  • We are sometimes conditioned to believe that thinking and acting in bold, hostile ways projects an image of power.
  • Thinking and acting with forethought and respect project greater power.
  • The most powerful muscle we have is also the most powerful weapon we have: our brain.
  • We must question our conditioned thinking in honorable, respectful ways.
  • As soon as we begin to question, we wake up!
  • There are times when our actions speak much louder than our words!

Congratulate your children on successfully completing another lesson and strengthening her or his awareness!


Lesson 7: Offer Information In A Caring, Considerate Way

Breakdown of Lesson #7:

  • The quiet power of patience.
  • Learn to think for yourself.
  • The convincing force of conditioning.

Materials Needed:

  • See Tool 7A: Review this activity before participating with your children.
  • See Tool 7B: Make a copy for each child of “I’m Conditioned,”
  • See Tool 7C: Review this activity before participating with your children.

The Quiet Power of Patience

Ask your children:

  • Have you ever seen someone who is calm and thoughtful in the face of a dangerous situation?
  • Do you think that being able to remain calm in a stressful situation is a sign of power?
  • When are some times you’ve had to remain calm in a stressful situation? Were you able to stay strong? Encourage short responses.

Tell your children:

  • When we’re in danger, we usually want to either fight or run away. This “fight or flight” response is a healthy and natural response to real danger. We’re “conditioned” to think and act in these ways.
  • Sometimes our “fight or flight” response happens when the danger is not real, but based on a fear or prejudice we have.
  • When we get scared, we tend to forget our manners. The reason is that we do not go to our stopping place, the place where our sense of calm and respect are waiting for us.
  • Any fear we have is usually based on something that happened to us in the past. As soon as we recognize that, we can quickly go to our stopping place, get calm, and remember our manners!

Tool 7A - Activity: Going To My Stopping Place!

✓ Ask your children:

  • What’s one of the scariest things that’s ever happened to you?
  • What did you do? What did you say? What happened? What did the people around you say or do?
  • Did you get angry? Upset? Frustrated? Did you fight? Yell?
  • Did you realize you were scared at the time?

✓ Tell your children:

  • When we’re scared, we tend to forget everything — our manners, our ability to think clearly, the best action to take.
  • It’s helpful to be AWARE of when we’re afraid, so that our awareness can immediately direct us to our stopping place. Instead of acting in an old “conditioned” way, we can stop and think of an appropriate way to act.
  • In our stopping place, even if it’s only for a second — we can close our eyes, take a deep breath, and think.

✓ Ask your children:

  • Let’s return to that scary thing you just talked about! What would have happened, right at the beginning of that terrifying moment, if you had gone to your stopping place?
  • Even though it’s scary, let’s go back there now. Talk again briefly about what happened, and this time — close your eyes, take a deep breath, and — what action are you thinking of taking?
  • Is what you’re thinking different from what you actually did? Do you think it’s a better action to take? Why do you think so?

The Convincing Force Of Conditioning

Tell your children:

  • A psychologist named B. F. Skinner became famous for studying the way we humans respond to respect and disapproval.
  • Skinner was also a teacher. One day his students wound up teaching him something.

Read to your children:

Skinner’s students were all aware that Professor Skinner was a pacer. While he lectured, he paced up and down the front of the classroom. His students devised a plan to try to “condition” him to stop pacing and to stand on only one side of the classroom!

Here’s what they did. That day, whenever Professor Skinner walked to the right side of the room as he was teaching, the students would listen with great care and attention, raise their hands to ask many questions, and act with great respect toward what he had to say.

When he walked to the left side of the room, the students would act disrespectfully bored, not ask questions, and purposely not pay attention.

By the end of the class, Professor Skinner, who normally paced back and forth continually, spent the rest of the class pinned against the right side of the room!

The lesson for that day was — conditioning has the power to pin a pacing Professor to one wall — and to prevent respect!

Ask your children:

  • How was Professor Skinner taught by his students? What exactly did he learn?
  • Did the students show their professor that they could control him because of his conditioning?
  • Do you think that being conditioned can be dangerous? In what way? Can our conditioning get us to act without thinking?
  • In what ways do you think you’ve acted without thinking? Have you seen anyone else act without thinking? Do you think it was because they were “conditioned” to act that way?

Tool 7B - Activity: I’m Conditioned!

✓ Give your children a copy of the following page, and ask them to write three different ways that they have seen someone (including themselves) act in a “conditioned” way. Give them time to think about this and write down everything they would like to say.

✓ After you call time, ask your children to read what’s written on the page. Then ask:

  1. Was it easy to come up with different signs of “conditioned” behavior?
  2. Do you think some conditioned behavior is good for us? Like what, for example? (Brushing our teeth, locking our doors.)
  3. Do you think some conditioned behavior is thoughtless and keeps us from being honest? Respectful? Caring? Like what, for example. (Being mean to a person, because he or she is different from you.)
  4. Is it your opinion that people act in conditioned ways because it’s all they know how to do?
  5. Do you think that people act in conditioned ways because it’s easier than having to think for themselves?
  6. Do you think it’s wise to observe our own conditioning and to ask ourselves whether it’s doing us any good?
  7. Being conditioned to stop for a red light: Is that good conditioning? Something that helps us survive in this world?
  8. Being conditioned to hate someone you’ve never met. Is that good conditioning? Does that help us survive in this world?
  9. Do you think that some conditioning is beyond our control? What, for example?
  10. Do you think that we are aware of conditioning, and keep on doing it anyway? Like what?

Write THREE different ways that you’ve seen someone act in a conditioned way. In other words, like Professor Skinner, they did something they do all the time, without thinking.

  1. One person I’ve seen act in a conditioned way is . . .
  2. Another person I’ve seen act in a conditioned way is . . .
  3. One way I have shown my own conditioning is . . .

Learn To Think For Yourself

Ask your children:

  • Do you know the reasons you believe everything you believe?
  • For example, do you believe people from foreign countries are different from us? Why do you think so?
  • Do you think people from foreign countries are the same as us? Why do you think so? In what ways are they the same?

Tell your children:

  • We don’t always know when people intend to act in our best interests and when they don’t. We’d like to trust everyone, but that’s not always wise.
  • In our daily life, people may say something that we react to, without thinking. For example, someone may say or do something we don’t like — and anger, fear or a misunderstanding inside us makes us want to fight.
  • U. S. President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.” When we speak softly, thoughtfully, with respect, but are ready to defend ourselves if we need to — then we are prepared. Then we can act from what we understand is right, rather than react to actions that create fear and misunderstanding.

Tool 7C - Activity: Bubbles in a Glass of Soda!

✓ Ask your children to sit comfortably and relax. Tell them:

  1. Think of someone who’s been on your mind lately, or something you’ve thought about a lot lately — a parent, teacher, close friend, kids at school, your homework. Pick one thought.
  2. You may want to think about someone who lately has made you feel angry or hurt.
  3. As you sit comfortably, close your eyes and look inside at your hurt or angry feelings. Don’t do anything — just watch!
  4. Whatever your hurt or angry thought-and-feeling, just let it come up like bubbles in a glass of soda. Watch the thought-feeling bubble up, and then watch it disappear, without any effort.
  5. Do your best to not judge what you see, by saying “That’s good,” or “That’s bad.” If you do, just watch that you’re doing that.
  6. The point is to let any thought-feeling come and go without ever acting on it. This is your stopping place. This is where your mental strength waits for you.
  7. Have you ever seen bamboo in the wind? It bends but does not break. In this place, you are like bamboo. You are able to not hurt back, even when you’ve been hurt. This gives you remarkable mental strength.
  8. This is the true essence of the study of martial arts: learning to not hurt back — stopping conflict before it starts, whether it’s in your mind, or clenched in your fists and ready to attack another person.

✓ Congratulate your children on a successful activity!

✓ Tell them that this exercise can be done anytime, anywhere to deal with feelings of anger, hurt, frustration, loneliness or discouragement. This activity helps us feel the hurt, not hurt back and experience great mental strength.


Summary:

  • When we’re in danger, we usually want to either fight or run away. Sometimes our “fight or flight” response happens when the danger is not real, but based on a fear we have.
  • Any fear we have is usually based on something that happened to us in the past. We are “conditioned” to be afraid of something or someone. As soon as we recognize this, we can quickly go to our stopping place, get calm, and remember our manners!
  • In today’s world, we don’t always know when people intend to act in our best interests and when they don’t.
  • When we can speak softly, thoughtfully, with respect, but are ready to defend ourselves if we need to — then we are prepared. Then we can act from what we understand is correct, rather than react toward someone who inspires fear and misunderstanding.
  • Conditioning has the power to pin an intelligent, pacing university professor to one wall! More seriously, conditioning can prevent respect.
  • Respect is the act that conquers fear!

Congratulate your children on successfully completing another lesson and becoming even more aware!


Lesson 8: Thank People Who Are Helpful To You!

Breakdown of Lesson #8

  • The power of thinking “Thank you.”
  • The power of saying “Thank you.”
  • The power of acting with gratitude.

Materials Needed:

  • See Tool 8A: Review this activity before participating with your children.
  • See Tool 8B: Review this activity before participating with your children.
  • See Tool 8C: Review this activity before participating with your children.

The Power of Thinking “Thank You”

Ask your children:

  • Can you name some things someone you know has done for you lately that were helpful to you? Encourage all responses.
  • When these people did these things to help you, did you thank them?
  • Do you think there are times when we take for granted some of the things people do for us? What are some examples you can think of?
  • Do you think it’s possible that when we’re used to people doing things for us, we sometimes forget to acknowledge what they do?

Tell your children:

  • When we shine our awareness — like the moon shines light on the world — on words people say and actions they take to be helpful, we can see many of them right away!
  • Most of us are lucky in many ways to have people in our lives who do thoughtful, respectful things for us — often without our even having to ask for them!
  • Can you think, right now, of at least three people you would like to thank for what they may have done for you in the past?

Tool 8A - Activity: The Unbroken Flame of Gratitude!

✓ Tell your children:

  1. Clear your mind of any thoughts and feelings that keep you from being in the present. Your focus is only on here and now. You can close your eyes, or keep them open.
  2. Think of one person you believe deserves thanks for something he or she said to you, or something she or he did for you. Focus on this person as if this person were standing right in front of you.
  3. Create an unbroken flame of gratitude toward that person, completely removing thoughts of yourself — how you look, what you need to do next, how you should act. Every thought now is based only on that person. Stay with that person for a whole minute.

✓ After the minute is up, ask your children:

  1. How did you feel thinking of nothing but that person, and thinking how grateful you are for the help you’ve received?
  2. Do you think it’s a good idea to stop, every now and again, and think about people like this who do good things for us?
  3. Would you like other people to think of you in this way? Why would you want that?
  4. Do you think that focusing on something positive, something that makes you feel good, helps you become a stronger martial artist? How so?
  5. Do you think that focusing only on negative situations makes us mentally stronger?
  6. Do you think that there’s something to be said for focusing on people and things that make us feel good about ourselves?

The Power of Saying “Thank You”

Ask children:

  • Is it difficult for you to say “Thank you” to someone? If so, why do you think it’s difficult?
  • Does it embarrass you to say “Thank you” out loud? Why do you think it makes you feel that way?
  • Do you like when people thank you? Do you think that if you enjoy being thanked, that other people probably enjoy it, too?

Tell children:

  • Saying “Thank you” takes less than two seconds. Like bowing to an opponent in the martial arts, the words “thank you” are a simple way of showing respect.
  • These two words create feelings of good will, and can help stop conflict before it begins.
  • The best way to get really good at saying “Thank you” is to practice!

Tool 8B - Activity: Thanks!

✓ Tell your children:

Let’s pretend that some people have done some really terrific things for you. As I mention each one, say thank you to each person any way you like. Here are examples, or you can make up some of your own! (Encourage your children to have fun, be silly, and make up some thank-you’s!)

  • Thanks!
  • Really nice of you!
  • What a great thing to do!
  • Thank you!
  • Wow!
  • That’s fabulous!
  • You’re so good to me!
  • I’m so grateful!
  • Merci! Gracias! Danke!
  • That’s so thoughtful!

Try to come up as many different ones as you can! Okay, here goes!

  1. Your parent wakes you up in time to get ready for school! This means your parent had to get up before you did! (Thanks, Mom!)
  2. Your kid brother gets out of the bathroom in time for you to get ready for school!
  3. As you walk to school, a driver stops and signals for you to go ahead and cross the street.
  4. When you get to school, a friend opens the door and lets you go first.
  5. When you go to your classroom, your find that your teacher has prepared a new lesson for you that day. Your teacher probably spent the night before getting that lesson ready for you!
  6. At recess, a friend invites you to play.
  7. After school, you attend a martial arts class, where your instructor offers a class in which you learn something new.
  8. At home, your parent has purchased some new supplies that you need, has made you dinner, has helped you with your homework, and has given you time to watch a television program.

The Power of Acting With Gratitude

Ask your children:

  • Just as physical moves are only part of what we need to know in the martial arts, do you think that speaking “Thank you” is enough?
  • Do you think that in addition to speaking our gratitude, we need to know how to show it?

Tell your children:

  • In the act of demonstrating our respect, we go to our stopping place, and become peaceful inside us. Being able to find this “peace” place helps us reach the highest goal of the martial artist!
  • In the act of respect, we refrain from causing a feeling of separation between “you” and “me,” or between “them” and “us.” In the act of respect we honor similarities instead of differences.

Tool 8C - Activity: I’m So Grateful!

✓ Tell your children:

Let’s use the same situations we used in our last activity. Only this time, instead of finding a way to say thank you, we’re going to find a way to show our thanks, without saying a word! Are you ready?

(Allow your children to be creative! Perhaps do a chore around the house, or offer to help that person in some way! Let them think up some ways on their own! Encourage them to have fun!)

  1. Your parent wakes you up in time to get ready for school! This means your parent had to get up before you did!
  2. Your kid brother gets out of the bathroom in time for you to get ready for school!
  3. As you walk to school, a driver stops and signals for you to go ahead and cross the street.
  4. When you get to school, a friend opens the door and lets you go first.
  5. When you go to your classroom, your find that your teacher has prepared a new lesson for you that day. Your teacher probably spent the night before getting that lesson ready for you!
  6. At recess, a friend invites you to play.
  7. After school, you attend a martial arts class, where your instructor offers a class in which you learn something new.
  8. At home, your parent has purchase some new supplies that you need, has made you dinner, and has given you time to watch a television program.

Summary:

Read these to your children.

  • Great power can come from thinking, speaking and showing our gratitude to people in our lives.
  • In the act of respectful gratitude, we honor similarities instead of differences, and create feelings of good will — all of which strengthens our minds.

Congratulate your children on completing another terrific lesson!


Lesson 9: Act Toward Others As You Would Like Them To Act Toward You

Breakdown of Lesson #9:

  • Learning to observe others.
  • Standing in someone else’s shoes.
  • Deciding whether to act, or react.

Materials Needed:

  • See Tool 9A: Make two copies of roleplay “I Judge! I Reflect!”
  • See Tool 9B: Make a copy for each child of “Confict! Or No Conflict!” 
  • See Tool 9C: Cut into strips, “The People In My Life!”

Learning To Observe Others

Tell your children:

  • A clear mind, like still water, reflects exactly what’s there — with no distortion. It sees where an attack is coming from and also sees the hurt and anger below the surface.
  • A still, clear mind doesn’t judge hurt or anger. Judging stirs the water, makes it muddy and obscures our vision.

Go to Tool 9A and return to this section.

Ask your children:

  • Are there actions in this roleplay we can add to our chart, “Manners I’ve Experienced Today”? Let’s add them!
  • Is there a big difference between judging and thinking things through? What do you think is the difference?
  • Do you think that when we are focused, we have the mental strength to SEE the difference?
  • Is it difficult sometimes to know when we’re judging something or someone? Do you think the reason it might be difficult is because we’ve been “conditioned” to judge rather than think for ourselves?

Tool 9A - Roleplay: I Judge! I Reflect!

✓ BEFORE ROLEPLAY, make two copies of the roleplay on the following page. Ask two children to play the parts of Morgan and Maxi.

Download Roleplay

✓ Tell your children:

  1. The golden rule always reminds us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
  2. The problem is, it’s not always easy to remember that, especially if we’re feeling hurt, angry, upset, or caught in an argument or fight.
  3. During the roleplay that we’re going to do, the characters will both judge and reflect. As you know by now, judging is not a respectful thing to do. Reflecting IS a respectful thing to do.
  4. Let’s see if we are able to notice when one of these characters is judging and when one of them is reflecting, considering, or thinking things through. Are you ready?

✓ DO ROLEPLAY (next page).

✓ AFTER ROLEPLAY, ask your children:

  1. Was one of the characters more of a judging person, and the other more of a reflective person? Which was which?
  2. How can you tell which person was judging and which was thinking things through?
  3. What are some of the words or thoughts expressed that let you know right away that Morgan is a judgmental person?
  4. What are some of the words or thoughts expressed that let you know immediately that Maxi is a reflective person?
  5. Do you think we all have a little of both of these characters inside us? Why do you think so?

Standing In Someone Else’s Shoes

Ask your children:

  • Have you ever been called a name you didn’t like? What was the name? Encourage children to say the word aloud, even though it may be painful, or considered an improper word. We want children to understand that words cannot hurt us, if we don’t let them.
  • How did it make you feel to be called that name?
  • Have you ever called another person a name? What name? Why did you use that name? Was your intention to hurt the other person? Why? How did it make you feel to use that word? Smarter? Stronger?

Tell your children:

  • Words like these are an attempt to put down, de-humanize, hurt or make someone feel inferior.
  • When someone calls you a name, the only thing that can make it true is your reaction.
  • If you react to this name-calling as if it’s true — and take it as an insult — you create conflict inside your brain.
  • If you act toward this person doing the name-calling as if this name does not apply to you — you create no conflict inside your brain, and you feel no need to respond!

Tool 9B - Activity: Conflict! Or No Conflict!

Ask your children to look at each action in the left column below, and then write their responses in the right column. Then ask them to write, in the right column, whether they are ACTING or RE-ACTING.

Action That Happens

My Response (Act or React)

Someone stares at me.

 

Someone pats me on the back.

 

A friend gives me candy, then punches me.

 

My mom makes my favorite dessert; then asks me to help do the dishes.

 

Someone plays a nasty trick on me.

 

A teacher gives me a grade that I don’t like.

 

A friend refuses to talk to me.

 

Someone I know starts fighting with me.

 

I am robbed of my possessions.

 

People throw me a party.

 

Someone calls me a name I don’t like.

 


Deciding Whether To Act, Or React

Ask your children:

  • Let’s talk about your responses to “Conflict! Or No Conflict!”
  • Were you able to tell whether your response was a reaction to the occurrence, or an act that came from your own thinking?
  • Do you think that, with practice, you’re getting better at being aware of when you act, as opposed to when you RE-act to a situation?

Tell your children:

  • When we are aware that someone is judging, assuming or voicing an opinion — rather than seeking the truth, or trying to understand us — we can see that this person is in conflict.
  • People who call other people names are people who have probably been called names themselves. It’s likely that there’s a lot of conflict going on in their brains.
  • When we can see a person’s fear and hurt, we can stop conflict right on the spot! We don’t have to fight that person. We don’t have to run away from that person. We can simply stop, focus and understand that person.
  • Isn’t that how we would want someone to respond to us? Don’t we want others to respect us enough to understand us? Shouldn’t we, then, do our best to do the same?

Tool 9C - Mental Sparring: Insult Me ‘Til I’m Strong!

✓ BEFORE ROLEPLAY, make a few PHOTOCOPIES of the roleplay on the following page. Then, tell children:

  1. Every day there are people, places and things that can trigger a reaction in us to fight.
  2. When we become familiar with how this reaction is triggered, we get better at NOT LETTING IT GET TO US!

Ask TWO CHILDREN (Volunteer 1 and Volunteer 2) to come before the class and be willing to practice agreeing with a bully.

Also, ask for TWO CHILDREN ( Bully 1 and Bully 2) to be BULLIES and to shout insults at these students.

Download Roleplay

✓ DO ROLEPLAY (next page), and continue to follow these directions:

  1. Continue in this way, encouraging students to come up, one at a time to be a BULLY shouting an insult, or a VOLUNTEER who agrees with the Bully.
  2. Give the VOLUNTEER the opportunity to respond peacefully and calmly every time a BULLY tries to create conflict.
  3. Let students be creative and make up their dialogue.
  4. Allow the VOLUNTEER to use original dialogue. Just make sure that the “insults” are not too mean, that children don’t say real, hurtful things to some of the kids who may feel sensitive to certain insults. Also, make sure they do not use swear words.

✓ AFTER ROLEPLAY, ask all students:

  1. Did any of the insults or mean words get to you?
  2. What was running through your mind when you heard these words?
  3. What did you tell yourself about these words and thoughts?

Summary:

Read through these with your children.

  • When someone calls you a name, the only thing that can make it true is if you react as if you’ve been hurt.
  • If you react to this name-calling as if it’s true — and take it as an insult — you create conflict inside your brain.
  • If you act toward this person doing the name-calling as if this name does not apply to you — you create no conflict inside your brain, and you feel no need to respond! Someone calling you a name doesn’t make it true!
  • When we are aware that someone is judging, or voicing an opinion — we can see that this person is in conflict and is therefore creating conflict.
  • When we can see a person’s hurt, we can stop conflict right on the spot! We don’t have to fight that person. We don’t have to run away from that person. We can simply stop, focus and understand that person.
  • Isn’t that how we would want someone to respond to us? Don’t we want others to respect us enough to try to understand us? One of the most respectful things we can do is to understand someone — how that person thinks, how that person speaks, and how that person acts!

Congratulate your children on completing  another important lesson!


Lesson 10: Offer Assistance When And Where You Can

Breakdown of Lesson #10:

  • What does it mean “to help”?
  • What do I receive when I give?
  • Where can I offer the best assistance?

Materials Needed:

  • See Tool 10A: Review “Help,” p. 78, before participating with your children.
  • See Tool 10B: Make a copy for each child of “Help At Home! Help at School! p. 80.
  • See Tool 10C: Review this activity before you participate with your children.

What Does It Mean “To Help”?

Ask your children:

  • What does it mean to you to “get help”? Encourage all responses.
  • What does it mean to you to “give help”?
  • Do you see getting help and giving help as two different kinds of situations?
  • Is it your opinion that people like to get help more than they like to give it?

Tool 10A - Activity: Help!

✓ There are no “right” or “wrong” responses to the following questions. The object of this activity is to create awareness in children of what it means to be helpful — whom they should help and, in today’s world, whom they should not help.

✓ Ask your children the following questions:

  1. When you think of “getting” help, who is the first person who pops into your mind?
  2. Why do you think of this person?
  3. Has this person been helpful to you before? If so, what kind of help did you receive?
  4. Do you think that, if you had to help this person back, you would provide the same kind of help that was provided to you?
  5. If someone you don’t know approached you for help, would you help? Does it depend on the situation? Are there people you should definitely NOT help?
  6. Is there one way that you were helpful to someone today? What was the situation?
  7. Do you enjoy helping people? Why do you think so?
  8. Do you think it’s a sign of good manners when people are helpful to each other?
  9. Do you think that being helpful to someone you don’t know might be dangerous? In what way?
  10. What’s your favorite way to be of help?

What Do I Receive When I Give?

Ask your children:

  • Do you think it’s better to give than to receive? Why do you think so?
  • Do you think that when we give, we get something in return? If you think so, what is it we get in return?
  • Is there a feeling of satisfaction we get when we’re helpful to other people? How would you describe that feeling?

Tell your children:

  • There isn’t always time in our lives to help people on an ongoing basis. Fire fighters and police officers help people all the time, because that’s part of their jobs.
  • As for the rest of us, ordinary people sometimes do some pretty extraordinary things when faced with a crisis situation.
  • The point is to help when and where we can — not only when there’s an emergency — but on a daily basis, at home, at school, and in our community.

Tool 10B - Questionnaire: Help At Home! Help At School!

✓ Make a copy for each child of the questionnaire on the following page.

Download Questionnaire

✓ The point is for your children to think of ways that they CAN be helpful and WANT to be helpful.

✓ Ask your children to read the instructions, and then “x” the appropriate box for each item under “AT HOME.”

✓ Afterward, ask:

  1. Which boxes did you mark under “I can do this!”?
  2. Why did you choose those activities? Do you like to help with these activities?
  3. Which boxes did you mark under “I don’t want to do this!”?
  4. Why did you choose those activities to NOT do? Are you asked to do these things?
  5. Do you think you’re not good at doing these things?
  6. Does it not feel good to do things you’re not good at, even if they might be helpful to someone else?
  7. Is it your opinion that the way we THINK about helping has a lot to do with the way we help? Do you suppose that our thinking sometimes gets in the way of our helping?
  8. Why do you think so?

✓ Ask your children to mark the appropriate boxes for “AT SCHOOL,” and go through the same process, asking the same questions.


Where Can I Offer The Best Assistance?

Ask your children:

  • We all help in one way or another at home, or at school, but how many of us help out in our community?
  • Have you helped in some way in your community? How so? Encourage all responses.
  • Do you think it’s important for people to offer help within their communities? Why do you think so?

Tell your children:

  • Every community can use help in some way. It all depends on where we live and what’s needed.
  • A large city might need a different kind of assistance than a small town. A community of apartment complexes might need different help than a community of individual homes.
  • The whole idea is for communities to be prepared to help each other when and where that help is needed!

Tool 10C - Activity: My Community Needs Help

✓ Ask your children:

  1. Take a moment to think about the community you live in. Is there something you can think of that your community needs in the way of help?
  2. Is this kind of help something that you can do?
  3. Is this help something that someone else could do?
  4. If this is assistance that you believe you cannot do, can you think of some way to get the assistance that’s needed?
  5. What would be your first step in trying to get this assistance?
  6. What people would you contact first?
  7. Do you think that if you asked some friends or family members to join you, they might participate with you in getting this help?
  8. When would be a good time to contact these people?
  9. What will you do first?
  10. What steps will you take after your first one?

✓ Go over these steps with your children, and help them make this idea real!

✓ Make sure that your children take a certain amount of responsibility in this effort and that you’re not the one who winds up doing it all.

✓ Achieving success in children’s first endeavor is bound to ensure they’re doing something like this again. Make sure the effort is doable!


Summary:

  • Ordinary people sometimes do some pretty extraordinary things when faced with a crisis situation.
  • The point is to help when and where we can — not only when there’s an emergency — but on a daily basis, at home, at school, and in our community.
  • Every community can use help in some way. It all depends on where we live and what’s needed.
  • The idea is for communities to be prepared to help each other when and where that help is needed!
  • There are innumerable ways we can find to live with respect when we’re focused on helping each other.

Congratulate your children on thinking through some tough questions!


Lesson 11: Act Today In A Way That Will Make You Proud Tomorrow

Breakdown of Lesson #11:

  • Good manners are a state of mind.
  • The concept of “Stop! Think!”
  • The path of peace.

Materials Needed:

  • See Tool 11A: A copy for each child of “Stop The World!” p. 86.
  • See Tool 11B: A copy of “Make Me Proud Tomorrow!” page 88, for every child.
  • Good Manners Are A State Of Mind

Ask your children:

  • Do you think it’s important to become aware of those times we don’t act respectfully?
  • Do you think we should try to hide those times, or talk about them?
  • Do you think that talking about them helps us see the effect they have on our thoughts, as well as on our behavior toward other people?
  • Do you think that talking about our “unaware” times helps us strengthen our ability to stop and think, so we act instead of react?

Tell your children:

  • What we think affects what we say and what we do.
  • That’s why strengthening our minds is so important! If we strengthen our thinking, then we‘re going to strengthen what we say and do.
  • Remember: Using good manners is a peaceful act. Yet, knowing how to use them relies on a powerful weapon. That weapon is your mind!
  • When our minds are strong, we are able to travel to our “Stop! Think!” place very quickly! And we are able to make decisions that are honorable — decisions we will not regret later.

The Concept of “Stop! Think!”

Ask your children:

  • When is the last time you visited your stopping place, that place where you stop and observe the truth of a situation?
  • Did something someone said make you go to your stopping place to question whether or not it was true?
  • Did you go to your “Stop! Think!” place to call up good manners in a tough situation?

Tell your children:

  • In a “Stop! Think!” moment, nothing exists but the thought — right here, right now — exactly where you are.
  • In this moment, there is no conflict. You have stopped the world and you are focused on what’s happening this second, this minute.
  • This is the place to go when you need to call upon your good manners, especially when all you want to do is use bad ones!

Tool 11A - Activity: Stop The World!

✓ Tell your children:

The Path to Bad Manners is paved with false self-talk, prejudice or fear. Something someone has said to us is not the truth, or is a biased remark, or something that scares us for some reason. To cover our fear, we sometimes respond with bad manners.

The Path to Good Manners is paved with a strong focus on whether incoming information is true or false.

  1. We understand that we’ve heard or seen something that makes us feel afraid, and know instantly that being afraid can put us in conflict!
  2. We are aware that we’re not sure if the threat we’re feeling is real or imagined!
  3. We see that, if we’re feeling falsely accused or threatened, there is some misinformation being passed along.
  4. We listen to our anxious thoughts and understand that they’re there for a reason, and that they do not have to lead us into conflict!
  5. We stop our old, automatic, lazy thinking and we start to question — calmly, politely, intelligently!

✓ Give each child a copy of the chart on the next page. Tell them:

  • Here’s a chart with examples of fearful thoughts, expressed with bad manners. Read each one. Then, next to it, in the right column, write a well mannered comment about this thought.
  • There are no “right” or “wrong” answers. The point of this exercise is to give you some “Stop! Think” moments so you can practice stopping the world!

Download Chart

✓ After a few minutes, ask your children to read responses out loud; encourage discussion!


The Path of Peace

Ask your children:

  • Would you say that there are times when the world in which we live can cause us to feel angry, sad and out of control?
  • Does it look to you as if walking the Path of Peace takes more time, patience and practice than anyone can promise?
  • Do you think human beings are destined to always be in conflict?

Tell your children:

  • Most people who know how to remain calm in stressful situations and who rely on good manners to survive in this world tend to have healthier, more peaceful lives than those who don’t.
  • The many paths you choose in life will often put you at a crossroads, where you must decide whether to move forward or hold back, get unnecessarily angry or remain calm, act with good manners or react to someone’s — or your own — conflict.
  • Going to your “Stop! Think” place puts you on the road to understanding a person or a situation. This core feeling of understanding makes you feel open, confident, and mentally strong.

Tool 11B - Activity: Make Me Proud Tomorrow!

✓ Give each child a blank piece of paper, like the one on the following page, that says nothing but “Make Me Proud Tomorrow!”

✓ Ask your children to look at the title and to think of a way — any way at all — they could make themselves feel proud tomorrow.

✓ Tell your children to think of the people they have seen — at home, at school, in the community, on television, the movies — who did something to be proud of, and then to fill the page with something like that they can say or do.

✓ Give your children as much time as you can to do this exercise. When they are finished writing, ask for a reading of what’s on the page. Then ask:

  1. Did it feel good to write this? Why, do you think?
  2. Is it a good thing to feel proud?
  3. Is what you wrote based on information you have that’s true, or information that you believe?
  4. Did you have any “Stop! Think!” moments while you were writing? What did you stop to think about?
  5. Did writing put you into any conflict? If so, what kind?
  6. Did you have to resolve the conflict in your mind? If so, what did you do, and how did you do it?

✓ Congratulate your children on a job well done!


Summary:

  • Using good manners is a peaceful act. Yet, knowing how to use them relies on powerful observation by your mind!
  • When our minds are strong, we are able to travel to our “Stop! Think!” place very quickly! And we are able to make decisions that are honorable — decisions we will not regret later.

Congratulate your children on good work!


Lesson 12: Give People The Greatest Gift — Respect!

Breakdown of Lesson #12:

  • From automatic to aware.
  • Three steps to new actions.
  • Give the greatest gift.

Materials Needed:

  • See Tool 12A: Cut into strips, “Cuts & Bruises,” 
  • See Tool 12B: Save strips for this activity.
  • See Tool 12C: Make a copy for each child of chart, “Which Path Do I Take?”

From Automatic to Aware

Ask your children:

  • Do you think that sometimes we human beings learn what to do and what to say, without being aware of why we do and say things?
  • Do you think this could contribute to the fact that we sometimes find it difficult to learn something new, especially once we’ve learned to think or do the opposite?
  • Do you think our brain tends to go on “automatic” and revert to the way we learn something the first time around — even if we suspect that the new way may be better?
  • Do you think we human beings are creatures of habit? Is that why it’s so hard for us to learn sometimes?

Tell your children:

  • That’s how it is with learning manners. It’s possible that the first manners we learned in certain situations weren’t the best ones, and now we have to re-learn new ones.
  • Learning to find our moment of “Stop! Think!” isn’t easy the first time around, but like with anything new, practice helps a lot!
  • Eventually we learn to get to our “Stop! Think!” place quite easily, and we find that new thinking starts to take place. We find ourselves acting in new ways — ways that make us proud.

Tool 12A - Mental Sparring: From Automatic to Aware!

✓ Create strips of paper using the lines of dialogue on the following page. Create some of your own lines of dialogue, so there are plenty of strips for your children.

Download Strips

✓ Cut the strips and put them in a bag. Ask your children to reach in and pick one!

✓ Tell your children:

  • Let’s pick some strips out of a bag! On each strip is a comment uttered in anger, with no thought of being polite or considerate.
  • Pull out a strip, and read it with great anger! Then, without thinking, say whatever comes into your mind as a response! No swearing allowed, but say anything else!
  • Read the strip again and, this time, take a “Stop! Think” moment. Say something that comes from your awareness, from your stopping place — from all that you’ve learned about the importance of good manners.

✓ Ask your children to begin. Monitor what happens.

✓ Put the strips back in the bag, because you’ll use them in the next activity!


Three Steps to New Actions

Tell your children:

We’re all capable of learning new ways to behave. All it takes is a willingness to do so.

Here are three steps that can help you:

  1. Become AWARE of new information you need. Any action not based on awareness is a RE-action. Awareness gives us information we didn’t have before and affects the way we think about a situation.
  2. FOCUS on what’s new that you need to do. As soon as you are in a “Stop! Think!” moment, you are ready to act instead of react. You are ready to ask questions.
  3. Think about the new way until you UNDERSTAND it. It takes time to change old habits, but we can learn new behavior just by keeping our mind open to new possibilities. We must not be afraid to stop in the middle of behavior that could prove destructive — to ourselves or someone else.

Tool 12B - Activity: Aware! Focus! Understand!

✓ Use the strips that you just used in the previous activity. When all the strips are back in the bag, ask your children to pick one out again.

✓ This time, when each child picks a strip, ask each child to read it, and then ask:

  1. What does this comment make you aware of? Are you aware that a person who says something like this is angry? Sad? Disturbed?
  2. What do you need to focus on in order to respond to this person? Do you have to go to your stopping place and think about whether you should respond at all? What you should say? How you should say it? Whether this person could be dangerous?
  3. What do you understand about a person who makes a comment like this one? Does this person need to be handled gently? Do you need to get help? Should you simply walk away?

✓ Do this with all of the strips you have time for. You can do this activity any time and use the strips over and over again, because on different days, the responses will be different. If you like, you can make some strips of your own.

✓ Help your children remember that:

  1. Being aware is key in handling any situation.
  2. Learning to focus on how you will respond is the difference between acting from intelligence and reacting with conflict.
  3. Developing a level of understanding — that using good manners will help you succeed in life — will help you learn how to keep your good manners in shape!

Give The Greatest Gift

Tell your children:

  • Respect is the act that conquers fear. When we act in respectful, caring, considerate ways, our fear — and everyone else’s — tends to disappear.
  • Remaining calm and free of conflict when bad manners appear before your eyes can help you stop a fight before it starts.
  • The greatest gift you can give anyone is respect. Most often, when we give it, we get it; and when we don’t give it, we don’t get it.
  • Each of us is a different human being. We can choose to walk the path of respect, or the path of disrespect in our lives. By now, you can probably figure out which is going to work best for you!

Tool 12C - Chart: Which Path Do I Take?


Summary:

  • The first manners we learned in our lives weren’t always the best ones. Some of us didn’t learn them at all!
  • Like with anything new we’re learning, practice helps a lot!
  • Respect is the act that conquers fear.
  • Remaining calm and free of conflict when bad manners appear before our eyes can help us stop a fight before it starts.
  • The greatest gift you can give anyone is respect. Most often, when we give it, we get it.

Give the children special congratulations for completing this program!


Congratulate your children on doing good work.

Your children have worked hard and accomplished many goals.

Wish your children a lifetime of discovery and a continual desire to achieve the highest goal — to stop conflict and prejudice before they begin... and to live every day with respect!

Download Entire Program