Recently, I was talking to my favorite 5th grade teacher (named Mrs. Teacher for privacy purposes), who just happens to be the mother of my future daughter-in-law, and she offered some brilliant relationship advice. We were talking about difficult children and how they can often be unlovable and not so enjoyable to be around. Mrs. Teacher told me she has a policy with her students that she has found maintains her relationship with the students, as well as their belief in themselves.
When one of her students misbehaves, Mrs. Teacher hands out the appropriate consequences, has a conversation with the student and then reviews her next day policy. The next day policy is that the next day is an absolutely brand new day. There will be no grudges held or any further discussion on the previous day’s bad behavior. Mrs. Teacher tells her students they don’t have to worry that she will be mad or upset with them because it’s over and they are moving forward.
Think about the power in this policy. Children mess up. We all mess up. How amazing would it be to be fully forgiven and to know that the next day was a brand new start? Mrs. Teacher reports that her students don’t misbehave more, but rather less in that they know minimum attention will be paid to the misbehavior. It’s forgiveness, a lack of regret, and a fresh start all rolled into one fabulous grade school policy.
Living By The Next Day Policy
What would life be like if we all lived that way? What if we had an argument with our partner and we knew that the very next day we were moving forward with no grudge or residual resentment? How much less tension would we have in our relationships and how much faith in ourselves and our partner? What if we followed that same policy with our children and with the people we work with? What if we didn’t have to carry the traces of our arguments into the next argument?
How would it feel to be fully forgiven and know the next day was a brand new start? How would it feel to give that gift to our partners and friends when they fall short?
What would it take for each of us to let go of a disagreement, a slight, a criticism, and make tomorrow a clean slate day? Mrs. Teacher does this by having full faith that each of her young students is worthy of hope and worthy of being loved and respected anew. She sees how her students blossom under this level of love and respect. Not surprisingly, Mrs. Teacher has also been happily married for over thirty years.
We can’t make the other people in our life follow this rule, but we can live it ourselves. Recently I said to my husband, “You can stay mad at me if you want but I’m moving on.” He looked shocked, but he smiled and agreed. It only took us twenty-eight years of marriage to figure that out! I’ve always done the same with my children. No grudges, no staying mad and no holding onto resentment. It was good for them and good for me to live that way.
So I’m recommending the brilliant relationship advice of a 5th grade teacher to make each day a new one for any relationship you are in. Let go of grudges and anger. Move forward. How can you make that relationship better today?
Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D., CPC is a professional certified life and executive coach, psychologist, and professional speaker. She helps people tackle that “One day I’ll do this and then I’ll be happy” goal, today. You can reach Lisa at Lisa@lisakaplin.com or lisakaplin.com. This blog post was originally published at: http://lisakaplin.com/a-grade-school-teachers-brilliant-relationship-advice/
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