by Kathleen Hennessy PeaceWorks Coaching
I have just had a wish come true. A colleague asked me to join his teaching team at a coaching institute because he wanted my particular expertise and my qualities as a person, that he’d felt an immediate connection with me. Almost word for word exactly what I’d wished for my next employer to express. Once my initial elation hit the ground again, I began to prepare for all this teaching on themes like education, systems theory, and developmental and learning psychology. Oh, and did I say this is all in German? Yikes!
So I spent yesterday in the library in Lucerne and have piles of books. I feel like I’m back in grad school, a feeling I had not missed. But then… the more I look into current thinkers on learning and education, the more I am hearing that the key is connection. One of the most significant factors in learning success is relationship – relationship of the student to his/her teacher, the teachers among themselves and with the school leaders and the student’s relationship to him- or herself and to peers. I have to chuckle when these extensive studies come up with results which we have long felt and even known to be true through our own experience but had failed to do a meta-analysis to prove it.
This confirms my experience in my work as a coach, family advocate, and in teaching Positive Discipline, where I am increasingly convinced that it all comes down to relationship and an ability to connect, to stay connected or know how to re-connect after a dis-connect. I realized that this is the core of Positive Discipline. It’s really about connecting to and being in relationship with your child, yes, even when you are in the midst of “disciplining” the child. When we forget this due to our own stress or simply because we’re human, Positive Discipline also shows us how to reconnect. This authentic and profound connection is the foundation for all of our interactions. When our child(ren) feels seen and heard by us, s/he feels connected rather than cut off from us and there is much greater possibility for finding solutions.
Now perhaps this sounds goofy and you think, “Well duh, I’m in a very intense relationship with my child and feel completely connected to him/her.” And I do not doubt that about you. But if I am very honest with myself as a mom, I can feel that I tended to dis-connect when I disciplined, to go into a top-down mode. A child who feels in connection at home is also more capable of entering connection with others and in school. I hope I get a chance to share this marvelous way of being with children with you soon. It can literally change your life.