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Stop - Think - Act: How to teach children cause and effect reasoning skills.

Part of emotional maturity is learning how to stop, and think before taking action.

Children respond as they "feel" things. For example, when babies are hungry they cry because their tummy hurts. As they get older, they associate hunger pains with the need for food, and as they develop language skills they learn how to communicate their need by asking for food. As we journey further down the maturity road we learn to prepare our own food, eventually learning how to prepare food for others, and finally, in having our own children, we learn to pre-empt their hunger by anticipating their needs.

The ability to determine the cause of our own "feelings" and the eventual maturity to help pre-empt them in others is what I call cause and effect maturity. It's a very cool journey into the land of becoming a happy, healthy adult. We go from total self-absorbency to other-centered.

Hunger is quite a primordial example that is imperative for survival, but what about things like anger? When children are angry, they cry, yell, hit, and stomp... hmmm... and so do some adults. Why is that?

First, anger is not a primary emotion, but rather how we "feel" when something else is going on. It's a reaction to things like frustration, rejection, pain, etc. If anger is the reaction, then we need to back up and think about what's causing the pain. When you can identify the pain point then you can often stop the reaction and eventually pre-empt the situations entirely.

Teach your students this simple three step motto. Stop - Think - Act. Use it continually and incorporate it into your classroom culture. If it becomes part of their life in your classroom it just might stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Stop and ask yourself why you are angry. The tendency of almost everyone is to either say "I don't know," "Johnny is making me mad," or "Suzie is being mean to me" (or some form of blame on another person's actions.)

Think about why you are reacting to the situation. No one can make you do or feel anything so you need to find out why you are reacting to someone else's actions. Even if they are being mean or unfair to you, you ALWAYS have the choice and power to respond in the way that keeps you in a happy, healthy place.

Act only after you have considered the real cause of your pain, why you are reacting to it, if you really want to give that person or situation power over you, and what action you should take to get back to your happy, healthy self.

The more your students use these tools the more they will guide them in the journey of becoming a powerful person.

Together, we can do this,


Get out of the rat race and come home to your family.

Pete and the Pirates is on it's way...

This delightful production is filled with cantankerous pirates, castaway children, island natives, magical fairies and beautiful mermaids who must learn how to forgive in the midst of injustice. This powerful unit provides life-long tools for coping with issues of forgiveness.


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