Thursday, February 25, 2016

Conscious Discipline Book Club: Chapter 1--Transformational Change

When I first started using Conscious Discipline I thought it was something I would just be using in my classroom.  Initially, I thought it was going to help me get from point A to point B and help my students be better prepared for kindergarten.  I also thought it would give me new strategies for how to handle the challenging behavior in my preschool classroom.

I really had no idea how much it was going to change me.

It has been five years since I jumped off the Pamper Pole at Conscious Discipline Advanced Institute.  That ball that hangs just out of reach represents your goals and dreams.  The things you want most in life.

As I climbed the pole, my whole focus was on the step that was just in front of me.  I didn't look too far ahead nor did I dare look behind.  I just focused on the next best placement of my hands and feet so I would be secure.

When I got to the top of the poll and stood myself up with only the ropes holding me I froze.  For what seemed like a lifetime I just stood there.

What if I jumped and fell?

How do I get my feet to move?

Are they really going to catch me when I go?



Trust...the people on the ground have got me!


Just about the time I mustered up the courage to jump a dove flew over from the tree and landed on the cable that held the ball.



Stretching forward I smacked that ball and then slowly floated to the ground where I was surrounded by the warm embrace of friends.  They were the ones holding the rope.  I had to trust the people on the ground in order to have the courage to jump, but ultimately I had to trust the source of all my strength--God

My journey with Conscious Discipline has been much like my experience with the Pamper Pole.  As Dr. Bailey reminded us at the end of the chapter, if we focus on the goal the journey takes longer.  To experience transformation we have to focus on the step that is right in front of us and take the next best step.  We can't do it alone.  We have to lean in to the community of friends and family around us--the cheerleaders in our lives help us along the way.  It's not a sign of weakness to ask for help--it's actually a sign of strength.

Ultimately, for me, it is my faith that has brought me through this journey to where I am today.  I don't need to hide my weakness or pretend like I'm perfect in order to be the best mom, friend, or employee I can.  It is actually through my weakness that He is strong.  When I trust Him with my weakness and seek His help in becoming the woman He created me to be, that is when I find peace and the courage to JUMP!

Chapter One in our book study starts out with this quote from Mahatma Gandhi.  "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Over the last month and a half I have been on a very intentional journey to get healthier.  Not only physically healthy, but also emotionally, and spiritually healthy.  It hasn't been easy, but I am so ready for a change!

Self-discipline takes work.  It can be very labor intensive and having a strong support system makes a huge impact on your success.  Just like when I jumped off the pamper pole, I have to really work at it to "trust the people on the ground."  When I trust them enough to be vulnerable and share my journey with them I find encouragement, joy, and success!

The truth is that when I left my classroom three years ago to "take the leap" into being self-employed there was a lot of fear involved.  I was leaving the only job I had known for 18 years.  I left many friends and families that I had grown to love and who were a part of my daily life.  Many of these people were my support system.  We did life together for many years and now our paths were headed in different directions.

Long and short of it is that fear can do some crazy stuff to our behavior.  As long as I stayed lost in the fear or unaware of the impact it was having on me my progress was going to be stifled.  It seemed like I was so isolated and alone.  I knew how to do better, but I wasn't doing it.  I found myself way off track from where I really wanted to be.  I felt very frustrated and sad.

I imagine that the same is true for many of you.  When you first began learning about and implementing Conscious Discipline there was a lot of fear involved.  Maybe you were excited about the possibility of learning a better way to discipline your students or children, but didn't realize how much work it was going to be.  There may have been tools in your "discipline toolbox" that weren't very helpful and now you were trying to let them go.  Maybe it seemed like you were alone.  Perhaps the only person in your school or home who was trying to learn a better way.

Fear isolates us.  It makes it hard for us to feel safe and trust other people or even ourselves for that matter.   Most of us were raised with discipline that relied on fear to make us behave.  Rewards and punishments were the norm.  When we begin learning about Conscious Discipline we are making some HUGE shifts.  Instead of slamming shut that fear-based discipline toolbox and sealing it with a lock, we are making a shift in our mindset and adding practical skills so we can be the change we want to see in the world.  Essentially, we are giving our toolbox a makeover.  Becoming aware of what is in the old toolbox and upgrading it with the necessary tools so we can be the best person possible and have the self-discipline necessary to TEACH Conscious Discipline tools to our children.
For me, the only way that can happen is if I rely on the Maker, not myself.

I am so excited that each of you have joined me on this journey toward a better way.  This is just the beginning.  Whether you have been using Conscious Discipline for many years or are just beginning, I am certain that you will make new discoveries and take new steps in your journey that will help you be the change you want to see in the world.

I can't wait to hear what you are learning!  Please be sure to comment below with your questions, reflections, and insights from Chapter 1 and join us on BLAB on February 26 at 8:30 pm Eastern Time for our live chat!

Here is the link:

"See" you there!