Class met only twice a week. When they came the next week, Marie reported, the ringleader refused to let herself become involved with the antics of the other three. She sat apart from them, and while she did not actually become involved in the activity of the class, she did not cause any trouble.
The next class, one week after Marie had projected to them for the first time, the ringleader asked a question in class.
“The others looked at her like they didn’t believe it,” Marie said. “We answered the question. Pretty soon, she came up with some ideas. And by the end of class, they were all participating,
coming up with ideas, asking and answering questions.
“As they left the room at the end of class, the ringleader looked at me and smiled and said, You know, Mrs. Buckingham, I think it’s more fun being good than being bad.’ And I just reached across and hugged her shoulder and assured her that I think so, too.”
The ringleader and the other girls smiled as they left.
“I saw the school counselor later,” Marie added. “I asked her to guess what the girl, the ringleader, had done. She said, ‘No telling.’ I told her that she had been asking and answering questions and had looked up at me and smiled, and she said she thinks it is more fun being good. And the counselor exclaimed, ‘That girl said that?!’ She couldn’t seem to believe it.
“I never had any more problems with them,” Marie said. “That doesn’t mean they never did anything out of place, but they were really quite good.”
How a coach turned “losers” into winners
Another educator, basketball coach Hector Chacon, turned a whole season around with a simple change in attitude. Here’s the story in his own words:
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“Sometimes the drive to win becomes so intense that we start doing things that cancel out the very traits and characteristics that made us winners in the first place. That’s right: An intense desire to eliminate mistakes can lead to defeat your defeat. I should know, because it almost happened to me.
“As we gain more skill and experience, we begin to concentrate more and more on playing that perfect game, eliminating every mistake. And that can be a dangerous attitude.
“You see, the mind moves in the direction of the most dominant thought.
“If that thought is of making the winning score, or of making the great defensive play, achieving your desired end result, then you are likely to do just that. But if you are thinking about mistakes, you will be attracted to the mistakes.
“When the professional golfer looks down the fairway, he or she sees the pin on the green and shoots for it.
“The duffer looks at the sand traps on both sides of the green, and guess where the ball goes?
“The high school basketball team that I coach had some excellent players during the 1987 season. They had the skill and, more importantly, the desire to go to the state championships. But the last state championship basketball team we had was in 1956 when I was a player on the team
“I could sense that this team had the chance to go all the way. And I wanted that for them very badly. I had just as much desire for it as they had.
“I started looking to see what mistakes they were making so that we could correct them. I was showing them how to play the game right and pushing them to play to their full potential.
“Then a funny thing happened. We’d build up a big lead in the first half, and then blow it in the second half.
“We lost four games by a total of six points! Just three baskets at the right time, and we would have had a 5-0 conference record. Instead we had a 1-4 record.
“While talking with Ed Bernd Jr. of the Exercise Star Athlete Program, I realized what the problem was: I needed to give the players positive images of success.