Dean's Letter Yisro

Rabbi Gidon Goldberg's picture

Dear Parents,

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Ms. Shevy Taitelbaum, staff coordinator of the NEAT production. The production is the outcome of months of hard work, practicing almost every night and on weekends, singing, dancing, reviewing parts in drama, drawing scenery, selling ads, preparing the playbill, and learning how to operate the lights. The NEAT production once again did not disappoint and was presented at a very high level. Mazel tov to the production heads and to the subheads of song, dance, drama, and all the other important pieces that make our production enjoyed by all.


The entire staff attended Part Two of the Love and Logic workshops, and we are enjoying learning new skills to implement in our day-to-day classes. As parents, teachers, and administrators, we are all aware that messaging and tone have a lot to do with the effectiveness of our parenting, teaching, and administrating. Unfortunately, when we are disappointed and/or angry we may respond by yelling, which automatically ruins any message we are trying to impart. Please review the following strategy on this topic from Love and Logic.

Before I had the good fortune of learning Love and Logic skills, I used to yell a lot more. One of the greatest gifts I received from the Love and Logic Institute was the ability to proactively use strategies to reduce yelling and blow-ups with my kids.

As a former yeller (not to be confused with “Ole Yeller”), I can say that I still blow up from time to time, but my kids really do notice the difference. And I’m sure my cardiologist would notice too – if I had a cardiologist! Let’s face it – yelling is bad for everybody.

It feels good to remain calm and to remember to use our skills. How can something like this be accomplished? Practice. Practice is always important. We get better with more repetitions and more experience using a skill. In addition, the most powerful trick I learned from Dr. Charles Fay and Jim Fay: the phrases I repeat to myself.

Years ago, I heard Jim Fay tell the story of putting himself to sleep at night by repeating this phrase, “When I feel like yelling, I’m going to whisper. When I feel like yelling, I’m going to whisper.” He told us that at some point, he opened his mouth to yell and a whisper came out instead!

The same principle of repeating a phrase (and putting it on sticky notes) has helped me a lot. I chose the phrase, “Stay cool, don’t be a fool.” It even rhymes. And, if you choose, you could put a little rhythm to it. A friend of mine told me that adding a musical element helps our brain remember things, which makes sense considering the fact that I can only remember the alphabet when I sing it!

I encourage you to pick a phrase that will remind you to remain calm and not yell. Put it on sticky notes, put them all over the place, and spend time repeating this phrase to yourself – especially when going through intense times with your kids (and other loved ones). See if being intentional about this makes a difference. If it does, please share your results!

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman