Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Back to School Basics

Last night our family crossed into a new dimension -- Junior High School. The orientation at my son's new school was packed with anxious parents and excited eleven and twelve year olds with their schedules in hand. We bounced around the building while our son located all his classrooms. He has one teacher he had last year, and his shop teacher -- yes, SHOP! -- was someone his best friend's dad and one of my former bosses also had when they were kids. It was cool.

I was particularly impressed with the young, energetic Assistant Principal, who indicated he was sure that the company providing the required Ohio Standardized Testing calculators had a good racket going with the Ohio Department of Education (see earlier post). Some days, it's just nice to know in fact that I'm not as dumb as a bag of hammers.

Even though this transition is small compared to some, getting through can still make us feel a little anxious. It's scary, nervewracking, to some degree for us as well as our kid. We hold our breath -- how will this kid get through the day if he has to each lunch at 10:30 in the morning? Who though having Phys Ed first period was brilliant? What if he forgets his key on the coldest day of the year?

But it will all be just fine, of course.

As I moved along with the crowd, watching my son leap ahead to scope out the lay of the land, I found myself thinking about the Re-ED principles, a set of basic tenets created by a particular school of child behaviorists in the 1970s as a response to Freudian accusations that everything wrong with us is somehow our mothers' fault. Why would this even be on my mind? I have the pleasure of working with a client whose services are based on these basic principles. Since day one, I've felt that these assertions are pretty good things for all of us to keep in mind. I realize these aren't bluegrass lyrics, but the values in these principles reflect the simple and steady and fairly uncomplicated values I find draw me to that music and give me a sense of peace and strength, so I wanted to pass these on to you:

Re-ED Principles

Life is to be lived now.
Trust is essential.
Time is an ally.
Competence makes a difference.
Self-control can be learned.
Intelligence can be taught.
Feelings should be nurtured.
The group is important.
Ceremony and ritual give order.
The body is the armature of the Self.
Communities are important.
A child – and an adult – should know some joy in each day.

Pretty basic. Seems to me that contemplating these ideas can bring a little order to the seemingly chaotic and nonsensical behavior in our personal galaxies. I hope you'll ponder them a little in the days and weeks ahead.

For more information on Re-Ed and on blended services for troubled and troubling children, visit


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