I am continually awed by the passion and commitment of people who want to become Certified Positive Discipline Trainers. Asma Saloom recently sent her "Letter of Intent" to join the PDA training program. I was so touched and impressed that I asked for her permission to share parts of her letter. Asma is planning to take Positive Discipline to Egypt.
Becoming a mother three years ago was a turning point that helped me discover what I want to do in my life: work with children and provide them environments that support cooperation, mutual respect, and contemplation. I had not been around many children before and had very few expectations or assumptions about what conventional parenting or discipline is supposed to look like, so entering this new role with the need to “research” how to do it opened my world to a variety of philosophies about raising children.
My firm belief in the need to respect and honor the child as a capable member of the family and society led me to read about Montessori methods and Positive Discipline, which I first heard about in my natural birthing classes. I found these practices to be really comprehensive and life changing because they result in such a heightened awareness of the importance of the words, actions, and environments that our children encounter. We can support our children as they develop themselves, or we can make them think that nothing matters more than what we and others think of them. We can help them become strong, curious, and self-reliant, or we can crush their spirits so that their highest aspirations are to follow the crowd. It’s such a huge responsibility.
As a mother, I use Positive Discipline with my children because it respects the child while fulfilling the parents’ needs. The successful family needs cooperation from all of its members, and Positive Discipline teaches us how to achieve true cooperation rather than the appearance of cooperation through coercion or bribery. Everyone’s needs are honored and their contributions are valued.
As an elementary teacher-in-training, I plan to use positive discipline in the classroom to help me actualize my ultimate goals for working in education: providing a supportive and respectful environment in which children are not “controlled” but rather learn to become positive and self-driven contributors in the learning community as well as the greater society. The idea of controlling children is so ridiculous and impossible, and even if or when it does work, it leaves them with no internal regulation to help them function when they are alone. So when will they learn that they are capable of being responsible and regulating themselves? Trying to control children does such a disservice to their development into thoughtful adults.
I recently decided that I wanted to take my practice and understanding of positive discipline to the next level by becoming a trainer, so that I will be better equipped to share it with others and ultimately lead workshops for teachers and parents.