What is the Key to Success?


Poetry Everywhere: "One Boy Told Me"
by Naomi Shihab Nye


Child practicing calligraphy.

A Special Application

These are difficult times for children growing up. But the transition from child to adult, one in which our bodies outpace our minds, has never been easy. The Great Depression, Industrial Revolution, Vietnam War -- all presented complications and challenges which stretched the capabilities of inexperienced youth. Each generation faces worldly trials armed with limited wisdom and partially forged tools, perils that accompany adolescence. For those of us who are attempting to be guides for today’s children, we search for effective tools to help shape their lives. Methods of psychology (Morita Therapy and Naikan) from Japan are combined with those of psychiatrist Rudolf Dreikurs to provide a framework that can be used to help children with behavioral and attention-related disorders. These methods also provide a foundation for effective parenting of otherwise healthy kids who, from time to time, face obstacles and challenges.

“There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children.” -- Marianne Williamson

“A child needs encouragement like a plant needs sun and water. Unfortunately those who need encouragement most, get it the least because they behave in such a way that our reaction to them pushes them further into discouragement and rebellion.” -- Rudolf Driekurs, M.D.

Little Dreams Come True Little Dreams Come True Book Cover
by Linda Anderson Krech


"Filled with wisdom, love, stories to inspire, and practical tools and ideas for more positive parenting, Little Dreams Come True is a gem. Read it for your kids. Read it for yourself." -- Zoe Weil, President of International Institute for Humane Education and author of Above All, Be Kind




"Don't Eat the Marshmallow . . .  yet!"

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Articles From the ToDo Institute’s Resource Library

Japanese Psychology and Purposeful Living

Making Each Morning a Good Morning: Naikan at an Austrian School

I will give you brief overview on how I integrated Naikan into our school. An initial problem was that I could not create the same setting and atmosphere as the traditional Naikan retreat. Nevertheless I quickly found a way in which I could weave Naikan into the fabric of our classes, without imposing it on the children. In order to explain the situation better, I must first tell you how a typical school week looks, in my class.
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Strategies For Creating Responsibiliy

This essay will outline how people who work with children can show them where the responsibility for there behavior lies-within themselves.... By taking the time to really teach children about the responsibility that they have for their behavior we are really teaching them something that they will use for life. As people working with children, this is our responsibility.
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Scaling The Walls of Youth:
The Application of Japanese Psychology to Working With Children

Learning to accept and live with unpleasant feelings is a skill. It may be taught and learned by youth -- sometimes more readily than by adults. Young people have less to unlearn. Teaching them to accept their feelings as natural and respond constructively to their life situation gives them a crucial choice as they inevitably face moments of emotional pain and mental discomfort.
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William Tell Mom. Click on the above video to watch the 3 min. song that summarizes every key phrase ever said by a mom to her kids.


Truth About Consequences: Letting Children Learn From Reality

The most effective response is action, not words. Although our minds may quickly come up with a stream of clear and well-targeted words, the most effective response is to keep them to ourselves and to act instead. Not in addition to, but instead. At the moment of conflict, no benefit can be gained from engaging in verbal communication. Before or after the conflict, yes. But not during. A logical consequence must be related to the problematic behavior. Punishments may not be related (you lose your allowance if you don’t clean up your toys), but logical consequences must be (your toys are put in storage for a while if you don’t clean them up). The difference is an important one.
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Keeping an Even Keel: Parenting With Composure

How do we as parents stay cool, given provocative children, sleep deprivation, untamed schedules, and pressures of all kinds? How do we model for our kids, so that they will learn that it is possible to speak kindly and respectfully even when upset? This wasn’t the worst offense that I’ve committed as a parent, but for some reason it just wouldn’t let go of me. I don’t want to hear my daughters speaking with that tone of voice when they are upset with each other -- now or when they’re teenagers. I don’t want that kind of angry communication to feel normal to them.
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The full text of this article is available to ToDo Institute members only.

This Child is Out of Control

Children are separate people, learning and experimenting in their own unique ways. They don’t need to “obey” us. It’s not a question of obedience. Will you consider yourself successful if your child grows up to be an “obedient” adult? Children must live with the logical or natural consequences that result from their decisions. Just like the rest of us. Such a system allows the parent/child relationship to be characterized by mutual respect and even friendliness. The consequences must be clear and delivered matter-of-factly, without hostility, without a rancorous punishing tone...It’s all about respect -- and control. Knowing what you can control -- and what you can’t.
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Restoring Balance: How Adults Can Help Children Handle Traumatic Events

As with most situations, children seek answers and comfort from adults around them, yet we often feel helpless in this role. Indeed, a child’s traumatic experience challenges even the most mature and experienced adult. While we don’t have all the answers, we can follow some practical guidelines to help children deal effectively with the confusing feelings, frightening thoughts and disoriented perceptions that often accompany trauma. The following list of guidelines was developed by a team of consultants with whom I worked providing counseling in the aftermath of the WTC disaster.
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The Needs of the Situation

If we can teach our children, by example and through loving guidance, to answer the question, “How do I respond to the needs of the situation in this very moment?” we offer them a valuable lesson about attention . . . and responsible action.
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Teaching Children the Skill of Paying Attention

The ideas of floodlight, flashlight, and laser light attention have given our students and staff a vocabulary. We can use these words to help students redirect their attention. For example, if a student is looking around the room rather than focusing on the task at hand, saying “flashlight attention” would cue the student to focus on the assignment. Knowing the difference between these three types of attention helps students begin to think about what particular attention skill is best suited to the situation they’re facing at any given moment.
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The Real Reality Program

The judgment calls of parenthood are endless -- how much, how often, what age, what kind, what time, what if, what now, with whom? Most of the time such judgments are made in shades of gray while weighing temperament and maturity, for example, or family values and individual interests. But not this time. No weighing, no comparing, no computing. Just NO. Clear as the reception on a big screen football game. NO TELEVISION. What a gift.
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“It is not possible to capture and maintain a state of pleasant feelings - feelings come and go despite our wishes. Learning to accept and live with unpleasant feelings is a skill - one that can be learned by children and young adults. Teaching them to accept their feelings as natural and respond constructively to the demands of the situation gives them a choice. Consider their other choices. They can act on whatever feelings thay have which will, at times, produce violent, selfish, unhealthy or irresponsible behavior. Or they can “escape” from unpleasant feelings by trying to recapture pleasant feelings through drugs, sexual activity or alcohol. With each temporary “feelings fix” the side effects of an untended life multiply. The alternative to a feeling-driven lifestyle is to shift towards one which is more purposeful, constructive and meaningful.” -- Gregg Krech

Thirty Thousand Days

Thirty Thousand Days: A Journal for Purposeful Living

Thirty Thousand Days arrived and after spending some time reading the articles, I must say that you have outdone yourselves. The journal looks great, the articles are terrific and the paper even feels good. Congratulations!”
Dan Lucas, Arlington, VA

“What an OUTSTANDING issue! I devoured it cover to cover and found each and every article inspiring, humbling and informative. It is a real pleasure to continue receiving this fabulous publication.”
Jane Skiba, New Paltz, NY


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