Do What?
Dr. Demuth

VCS Insights  Volume 2, Issue 14 Feb 2010
Do What?   Dr. Dennis Demuth    Superintendent
Most of us have heard our students respond with “Dowhat?” Generally, the use of this phrase is anequivalent of "excuse me?" or "pardon me?" whensomeone says something you didn't catch. It isbelieved that his regionalism is native to the Texas hillcountry, North Carolina, and Alabama.This winter, how many times have parents foundthemselves saying, “Are you listening to me? Didn't Ijust tell you to get your coat? Helloooo! It's cold out
there. “Sometimes it seems that regardless of how many timesyou tell a child to do something, it seems like most ofwhat you tell them falls on deaf ears or goes in one earand out the other.Information Does Get InsideYou may be surprised to learn that it does not work thatway. The information is getting inside; they just storethe information for later use.I’m always amazed during days when it is cold outside,the number of students who come to school withoutcoats. Its not that they don’t have coats, rather they donot plan ahead. You would think that they would planahead and think 'OK it's going to be cold outside so myjacket will keep me warm.' You would expect this to bethe pattern of reasoning. Rather, they run outside,discover that it is cold, and then retrieve the memory ofwhere their jacket is, and then they go get it.Getting students to prepare for something in advance,takes extra effort. Rather than arguing and bickering,try to highlight the conflict that they are going to face.Perhaps you could say something like “I know youdon't want to take your coat now, but when you'reseated in the car shivering later, remember that youcould have had your coat with you.”Heartfelt Desire to ObeyMatthew 28:16, “Then the eleven disciples went toGalilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told themto go.”They didn’t argue, bicker or delay. They did whatJesus had asked. There was no need to coerce orbeg, or to tell them a second, or third time. “Theirobedience followed a genuine heartfelt desire toobey. Their readiness to obey demonstrated thatlearning had taken place.” Many times our studentsfinally do what we ask but only in a grudging way.Obedience is only superficial, “covering up aninwardly rebellious heart.”Kenneth Gangel,in Called to Teach, shares theillustration on watered down obedience that tookplace in the Spanish American War. “Apparently theUnited States Congress came up with the idea ofrenaming captured Spanish warships after Americanuniversities and colleges and dubbing the collection‘the college fleet.’ Congress itself named the first twoships the ‘Harvard” and the “Yale.’ Admiral Dewey, incharge of American naval forces, considered thisidea ludicrous. But as a veteran officer he knew howto obey orders. The next ship he captured herenamed the ‘Massachusetts School of Technology’and after than the ‘Vermont Normal College ofWomen.’ As quickly as it had begun, the college fleetwas disbanded.” Did he do what was asked? Yes,Admiral Dewey did what he was asked to do. “On thesurface he demonstrated impeccable obedience. Yet,in his heart he had a spirit of rebellion.”A few tips for dealing with student rebellioustendencies.1. Set clear expectations and boundaries as well as consequences
for disobedience.2. Catch them making good decisions; praise good obedience
and quality decisions.3. Minister love, acceptance and forgiveness when mistakes
are made.4. Listen to their concerns; Let them speak without giving
them a long lecture.5. Don’t compare them with others; focus on progress.6. Speak to them respectfully and don’t embarrass them in
front of others.7. Be patient; don’t condone inappropriate behavior but offer