Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When We Need to Take Our Own Advice

Last week was a tough week for me both personally and professionally. As one of the two assistant principals responsible for freshmen discipline, I found myself counseling several girls last week as they had been in conflicts with each other on different occasions.

With ninth grade girls, they often find themselves in situations where one girl says something to another girl that is rude, untrue, or mean. Sometimes this is based on assumptions about what the other girls are thinking or doing. It often results from judging intentions of the other person instead of only their actions. 

What I told the girls is that they can only control what they can control. They can control their own behavior and how they respond to another person's behavior, but they can't control the other person's response or the other person's actions.  For example, one young lady was willing to apologize for her negative behavior towards another student. I praised her for taking ownership of her behavior and reminded her that she cannot control how the other student would respond to her. She needed to accept that the only part she had any control over was her apology.

I also reminded her that sometimes we just have to let things go. If another person says something about her that is untrue or just plain mean, we have to LET GO of those things. I also urged the girls that if they get frustrated or angry to come and see me or their counselor. We would be there to listen, advise, support, and intervene if we needed to.

Last week, I found myself needing to take my own advice. I had to remind myself that I can only control what I can control. Like the suggestion I gave to the girls, I reached out to others for advice and support. I even reached out to members of my PLN, drawing strength from friends like Jimmy Casas, Daisy Dyer Duerr, and Becky Ince.

The following two suggestions are valuable in most tough situations, not just the ones in which I found my freshmen.

All of the girls that I met with left my office with a positive mindset and with the promise to remind themselves that they can only control what they can control. I set a reminder on my calendar to "check in" with them after we return from Spring Break this week to see how they are doing. To see if they have let things go. To check their mindset. To say, “I'm here for you.”

What other suggestions would make to someone in a tough situation?

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