Relationships are everything! Familial and friend relationships, workplace relationships, and spiritual relationships all make a tremendous difference in our lives.
When you look at the first chapter in my best-selling book on classroom management, Shouting Won’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Detours Around the Danger Zones, you will find that the first chapter is titled, “Develop a Relationship with Each Student.” The book begins this way because relationships form the foundation for everything that comes after it. It is also the first way that teachers can avoid the dangers that come with student misbehavior. In fact, when I teach the class by the same name as the book, I give teachers this slogan: Rules without relationships equals rebellion!
Students couldn’t care less about a teacher’s rules and regulations unless there has been time spent developing a relationship. I recommended that the relationship begin at the door of the classroom where teachers stand daily and greet students as they come to class. This is the time to ask them about their evening or weekend, whether or not they won a game in which they played, or compliment them on improved behavior or academic performance.
I was in a high school where teachers were standing at their classroom doors while students were changing classes. A young man walked down the hall with a cap on and pants hanging and one teacher stopped him and said, “Hey, take that cap off and pull those pants up!” The student continued down the hall as if the command had never been heard. That same student walked pass another teacher’s classroom door and the same command was given. The student immediately removed the cap and pulled up the pants. What was the difference? The student had a relationship with the second teacher that he didn’t have with the first.
I have seen blended families where a step-parent comes into the family and doesn’t bother to develop a relationship with the step children. Then when the step parent attempts to make rules, such as I need you to be home by midnight, the reply becomes, “You can’t tell me what to do. After all, you are not my mother/father.” In other families, when meaningful time is spent getting to know the step children and finding out their likes, dislikes, and interests, strong bonds are formed. If there is a strong relationship between two people, then both care what the other one thinks and neither wants to disappoint the other. If there is no relationship, then what difference does anything else make?
In this day and age where time is at a premium, fathers spend about seven minutes a day in meaningful conversation with their children. Mothers spend about 11. That conversation used to happen at the dinner table where all of the family sat and talked about the happenings of the day. Many families no longer eat dinner together and even those who do are often so engrossed in their cell phones and iPads that there is little time for anything else. Take time to develop strong relationships with the people who matter in your life. It will make such a difference!