Monty Valero

Nov 4, 2018

Meet our porch cat.  He showed up periodically last spring lounging in our front yard.  However, every time I tried to approach him, he quickly ran away.  So, imagine my surprise when Micah walked in our house one day and announced, “We have a new cat on our porch.  I named him Monty.”  If you met this cat today, you would never guess he was once shy or skittish in the least.  Healthy interactions, coupled with time, development, and unconditional acceptance have worked wonders with regard to his behavior – which brings us to this week’s lesson.

I can’t tell you how often I see one of my former “friends” in an older grade and hear from that child’s teacher, “Him?  He had behavior problems?  That really surprises me.”  My heart smiles every time this happens – and it happens often – which reminds me that when we are in the middle of dealing with difficult behaviors we can’t accurately assess the outcome of our interventions.  We just have to remain hopeful that over time, our efforts will yield positive results.

If I’m being honest, it seems we share our porch cat.  I know this because he once showed up with a collar and tag.  Although there was not an address or phone number, on the tag was written, “My name is Valero.  I’m a wanderer.  Don’t F with me.”  [I apologize for the offensiveness, but I kid you not.  This is an exact quote.  I was just relieved it was not spelled out any clearer…literally.]

I can’t attest for how he acts with his other owners, but I know one thing.  Monty Valero is the most wonderful, playful and sweet boy we could ever hope for.  We don’t see an ounce of attitude or poor behavior.  Yep – it’s amazing what healthy interactions, coupled with time, development, and unconditional acceptance can accomplish.

Generalizing to Extremes

As I lay awake last night staring at the ceiling, it was clear to me that my original idea for this week’s post would have to wait.  Given the incident that occurred at yesterday’s presidential rally, I believe there is a bigger issue to address. I’ve been...

The Concerning Colorful Spectrum of Language

Though actions may speak louder than words, we best not underestimate how language modeling shapes the behavior of the children we are collectively raising.  I guess it’s a hazard of my profession, but I regularly see and hear the world through the eyes and ears of...

Teacher Dads

Dads, today I celebrate you as teachers.  In fact, I believe it is one of your most important roles.  Fathers are always teaching, continually by example, and most of the time without even knowing they are doing so.  In this regard, I have seen some masterful work.  I...

Predictable Routines Needed

“The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” This quote from Mark Twain seems appropriate given the changes occurring in homes as another school year ends. Parents, we’re lucky. Our kids have had nine months of consistency thanks to the hard work of teachers. We...

One Chapter at a Time

Relieved. Happy. Discouraged.  Exhausted. These were some of the adjectives teachers mentioned when asked how they were feeling about the school year ending.  Although the responses varied, all teachers agreed - they were ready to have some closure with their...

Surrogate Teacher Moms

“Do you have any kids?” I once asked a teacher friend. “Absolutely,” she said. “I have a classroom full of them.” I laughed and walked away, but that thought stuck with me. Let’s face it - some of the best mothers in our lives weren’t our mothers, in the biological...

Get Physical

I’ve done a great deal of yard work over the past few weeks and have been reminded of an important behavior strategy. It’s one I don’t talk about nearly enough, given its effectiveness. Of course, with most people’s busy schedule it’s also hard to come by. The...

Look for the Foundation

Did you know that behaviors have a build-up effect over time?  Most teachers do.  And although there is an ebb and flow pattern to the behaviors of students, we see them all at the tail end of the school year – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Fortunately, we have...

Coming Together

So I’ve been thinking about this post all week.  Though the original inspiration hit me in the middle of the eclipse last Monday, it was driven home again yesterday.  (Being a spiritual man, I believe sometimes God circles back around and gives me reminders – to make...

Positive Collective Memories

As we move into the final months of the school year, now is a great time for educators to celebrate successes.  However, the problem with trying to do so is that we don’t always see the results of our labor right away.  Oftentimes our efforts are laying a foundation...