A few days ago I finished reading the book Notching Up the Nurtured Heart Approach by Howard Glasser. The book was given to me by a colleague saying, “I appreciate what you are doing, and I think you will find this inspiring.”
I did — profoundly. Now, I’m not even sure what to write. Do I offer a run-down of the basics of the Nurtured Heart Approach? Do I share my early successes? Do I tell a story?
How about a taste of all three?
I have a student who is seen as “the troublemaker.” Her energy and enthusiasm cause her to be disruptive, at times disrespectful, and the well-meaning staff where I work — we all spend a great deal of time and energy with her. As I was reading the book, she was the student in the forefront of my mind. To me this also meant that she was where my journey with the Nurtured Heart Approach was going to start.
Stand 1 of the approach is ABSOLUTELY NO: Refuse to Energize Negativity. Meaning, when a student does something, acting out, rather than jump into action with lots of focus and energy, that’s when you with draw. You stop feeding the behavior, because it doesn’t get an interesting response. This is all founded on the assumption that what students crave most is relationship with you, the adult in the room.
It made sense that my student wanted a relationship with me. Sometimes, right before she was about to break a rule, I’d see her look in my direction, as if to say, “Are you watching? Can I show you what I’m about to do?” So when I made sure she thought I wasn’t watching, and when I gave her no reaction — no raised voice, no individual attention, what would happen?
Stand 2 of the approach helped answer that question. The Stand is ABSOLUTELY YES: Relentlessly Energize the Positive. Using one of the techniques to do this, called Proactive Recognition, I said to my student, “I see you are about to break this rule, but you’re holding back and looking at me. That shows really awesome self control. Great choice!” Suffice to say, this student now greets me with a daily hug.
With small successes like this, I’ve come to see that the Nurtured Heart Approach is something I want to explore more as I go deeper and deeper asking the question, How can I nurture the playfulness, the creativity, and the greatness of young people?
In a future post I will flesh out some of the basic ideas of the approach, including Stand 3. As I find more successes and grow with the approach, I will document them here. But I love that the Nurtured Heart Approach begins with intentions. It’s not a philosophy, or just another something to test with young people. Instead, it begins with the intention, and intensity, to de-energize negativity and energize positivity when nurturing young people. When the energy goes relentlessly to building their greatness, what else can unfold?