“It is ok to say you’re welcome…”


Every year, I have an attention-grabber for school. Sometimes, I’ve found them online. And more often, I think of the most recent children’s movie hit and boom! I’ve got my attention-grabber for ‘guidance’ or leadership class!

Ready to rock? …….Ready to roll!

Who’s the one who likes to play?……….. Bing Bong! Bing Bong!

Just keep swimming…….just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!

And now, (drumroll!): It is ok to say……YOU’RE WELCOME!! Click here for the full, fun version from the movie, Moana! Better than yelling at them to be quiet, right!?

It’s even cooler when it also ties into the school theme like this year. PBIS is where it’s at across Knox County. This stands for “positive behavior interventions and support”. All schools in Knox county are moving towards implementing this. With tons of trainings, principals, teachers, and support staff have 4 fundamental standards or rules that are universal. Sounds fancy and important, right!? Well, it is….mostly.

  • Be safe.
  • Be kind.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be responsible.

Who can argue that these aren’t important principles to live by and expect out of our children? These are basically what we used to consider good manners. So, it’s good to know that these will be consistent throughout any class and area if implemented correctly, right!? Sure.

But, what I just find sad or strange about this rubric is that people, children and adults, should already be doing these things! Have people forgotten that nothing else works in the world, including school, if we don’t follow these tenants!?  We have to get the basics for societies to work. And, these character traits and manners are something that School Counselors have always taught anyway! Many of our comprehensive programs are centered around similar character traits so that’s another weird piece too! And, it’s what many, many teachers have always expected and led their students in doing.

We are now training lots and lots of principals, teachers, and support staff to have good manners and be nice. Honestly, that’s what it boils down to. Focus on reinforcing more positives than negatives. Use affective statements and point out how one’s behavior impacts others. And, reward good choices. That’s it in a nutshell as I see it. Now, there are some fancy bells and whistles but PBIS is genius because they are making money off of a program that’s really quite simple. 

So, parents, this isn’t something new. Like many concepts, programs, and curriculum, it’s rebranding. That’s ok , but it’s good to know that this alone cannot transform a school.  Now, the people who work in the school can. But, more importantly, our parents and society as a whole can and do impact the belief systems of our children. Children have to feel loved and they have to trust and respect in order to want comply and act nice. In order for PBIS to work, we have to also have adults living these same rules, and there in lies the problem!

We have been so busy rushing to cram new curriculum down their throats that we have lost time for the most simple and most important values and lessons in life. There’s no downtime in school and even many teachers resist scheduling a ‘guidance’ (leadership) class or taking a brain-break because they’re rushing to stay on track. What happened to the good ole-days when your teacher turned off the lights and everyone put heads down to take a break and calm people down!? We don’t have time.

Or, do we? We have to take time for kindness. Having a black and white matrix posted is all fine and good. It does serve as a good reminder on expectations. But, we also have to lead by example. 

For example, there’s a busy and thoughtful mom who, for years, has taken the time to write and mail thank you cards for the smallest things. She also has mailed many cards to my children recognizing them for their accomplishments. Her son is now starting middle school and she told me yesterday, that she has her cards ready!

And, then one of my daughter’s new teacher (that she was actually scared to get) came out to the walker line Friday to say hi. He snuck up behind her and told me in his deep voice that he needed to talk to me about my daughter. She started grinning, knowing he’s a jokester. He said she has been raising her hand and answering questions this week!

Taking a moment to just be nice is the best PBIS model that we can provide. Maybe, we all just need a reminder that it’s not that hard! Being nice, positive, and respectful makes people like you and want to listen and learn! So, my attention-grabber this year is to also say, “You’re welcome!”. It’s time for a refresher course!….

“And, thank you!” 😉


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