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I agree structure is very important for kids, but is a military like structure the most effective way to give kids structure?

I agree structure is very important for kids but I don't think the way the military trains soldiers is necessarily the kind of structure we need for our kids. That kind of discipline and training is overkill. I think kids just need positive role models and good discipline.

  • Feb 16 2013: As with most things involving humans there is no single best way that fits everyone, but the lack of any structure is the last thing anyone should want for children as they grow up.
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    Feb 14 2013: I have listened to this talk multiple times now, (and unless I haven't been paying full attention) I am correct in saying that Colin Powell never makes the statement "kids need military style structure to succeed in school and life". When he starts to talk about when structure (not "military style structure") begins for kids, it is when they have just been born and are already learning to imprint onto their mother. Unless I am mistaken, learning to imprint onto ones own mother is not "military style structure", at least I sure hope not! And when Colin Powell discusses how his parents raised him, he talks about the importance of the structure his family, mother and his "aunts", provided him with through being positive role models, love, and good discipline. The structure that his family provided him with, not "military style structure", is what provided him with what he believes to have given him the best opportunity to succeed, and what made it possible for him to go on and have a successful career in the military. I think when Colin Powell states "kids need structure", I don't think he is saying kids need "military style structure", but rather kids need structure provided by their family, starting at an early age, similar to the kind of structure Colin Powell received when he was growing up, to have the best chance at succeeding in life and making something productive of themselves when they become adults. If I am incorrect in anything I have just said, I hope someone will please take the time to correct me. Thank you.
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    Feb 17 2013: I agree Ryan, that structure is important, and also agree that military type structure is not good for our kids.

    I was born to parents who were from different polarities regarding structure and how to treat kids. The father had military type practices....obey no matter what I say no matter what....respect him no matter what....etc.

    My mother was unconditionally loving, and demonstrated that in every moment of her life. She demonstrated that respect was earned, she encouraged thinking and feeling for ourselves and talking about things...negotiation. She encouraged learning and growth with asking questions, reason and logic, while also encouraging listening to the heart/instinct/intuition.

    Children flurish with a structure that encourages them to have self confidence. Simply telling kids to obey, DOES NOT support their own natural curiosity. It does not support development of thinking, feeling, making good choices and decisions for themselves. Teaching kids to simply obey authority creates kids who are puppets, unable to effectively navigate the life experience.

    A good example of this is the sex abuse with the catholic church. I'm in an area where there have been several trials, ending in favor of the victims.....thankfully. There is a thread running through the testimony of the victims, who are now men in their 50s-60s. Many of them said they KNEW what was happening was WRONG, and they were afraid to say no to the priest, who told them to obey him. They were afraid to tell their parents because the parents taught them to obey authority figures no matter what.

    Those kids did not have the "tools", the confidence, or the support from authority figures to speak about what was happening to them....or to say no. The victims have been living with this confusion their entire lives, and based on the testimony, it appears that for many of them, the ability to abuse them stems from the idea to matter what.
  • Feb 17 2013: By reading all the comments before this of mine, it seems that many opinions were concentrated in the Powell speak and the word military. Let me talk about what environment and system are needed for creativity inducing education from the view or expectation by the student.
    My personal experience leading to my expectation that it is better to avoid military training type of discipline, and also any disciplinary action such as corporal punishment are not needed because that would inhibit, or at least discourage, creative thinking. On the other hand, the chaotic classroom situation in present day public schools are also undesirable, because when bullies disrupt normal ongoing teaching environment or even openly assault fellow students or the teacher, then I don't see how any student will have an optimal learning environment under such condition.
    My expectations are listed as follows:
    1. The students should hold a genuine respect to the teacher. The respect is not restricted to say "yes sir" or "no sir", which to me is rather optional, but also obey what the teacher tells them to do, such as no talking among them, even behind the teachers back.
    2. I believe that student learning by himself should account for 60% with the other 40% deriving from the teacher. Therefore, the important task for the teacher should be more guidance and encouragement of how to learn rather than reciting the teaching materials most of the time. The consequence of many rules, regulations and mandates imposed on the teachers to follow are merely ropes to bind the hands of teachers, and are not helpful the student's learning.
    3. I also advocate for a student to listen more and speak less. If you are an A or B student, do you find that you sometimes actually already had the correct answer before the teacher answered your question. In other word the best learning process is think first and ask, or research, it later. After all, the teacher is not the only person who can answer the question.
  • Feb 13 2013: Based on their age, kids need from their parents guidance, set boundaries, and certain level of discipline. However I think this should be done with love, open mind and understanding that it is normal and healthy for kids to experiment, play and push the boundaries.

    We should not need to restrict kids unless we have a good reason such as protecting them from danger, privacy issues, consequences they don't understand etc.

    Otherwise not discipline but knowledge and positive examples from parents will make them behave responsible throughout their adult life.