After reading the story, we began a discussion about being proactive vs. being reactive.
- Was Alexander’s response to waking up, slipping on his skateboard and falling proactive or reactive? What would’ve been a proactive response?
- Was Alexander’s response to his friend, Paul deserts him to be his third best friend and there is no dessert in his lunch proactive or reactive? What would’ve been a proactive response?
- Was Alexander’s response Nick says he is a crybaby for crying, and Mom punishes him in the act of punching Nick proactive or reactive? What would’ve been a proactive response?
When we focus on what we can control, ourselves, then we take the steps to PAUSE (breathe and calm down), THINK (what are some way I can respond), and CHOOSE (pick a strategy that might work and see what happens). When we focus on things we cannot control, everything else in the world, we become reactive and immediately respond - which usually results in a consequence.
We can't control how others respond to us. We can't control how events unfold. We can't control that whether a sibling breaks our toy, whether a traffic light turns red, or whether a new day dawns. If we're honest, we'll admit that we can't control much. If we're really honest, we'll admit that we enjoy control. Knowing my limitations allows me to focus on the one thing I can control: my response. Can I choose kindness? Understanding? Patience? Can I model this for my students? Can I talk them through the process of making good choices with what they can control?
For example, let's say someone cuts in front of you in line. We do not have control over their body. We did not move them in front of us. But we can control ourselves and how we respond to this situation. First, we can pause and take a deep breath. Then, we can think about ways to respond - ignore it, push them, give an "I Message", etc. Finally, we decide what is the best choice for us and try it.
Each student received a card to remind them of the problem solving steps with the Australian flag on one side and the proactive steps on the other side. Classrooms teachers have a small poster hanging in each of their rooms to remind students.