It's About Them

Young People … Our Greatest Resource

It Begins With … ME!

(Here’s a piece from my 2007-2008 school year newsletter, Reaching Out.) 

This past summer I attended a lecture by bestselling author, Dr. Joe Vitale. He referenced the documented work of Hawaiian psychologist, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, in his presentation.

An Impossible Job

Dr. Hew Len had what most would consider an impossible job. He was the psychologist for a hospital ward full of criminally insane patients. Many of these patients wore wrist and ankle restraings much of the time.

He knew it would be difficult to work with these patients directly, so Dr. Hew Len worked on himself instead. (He calls this process “cleaning.” It is derived from the ancient Hawaiian teachings of Ho’oponopono.) As he worked on himself, the patients began to heal, and the ward was eventually closed.

Pretty amazing stuff, isn’t it? It got me to thinking how a variety of this sort of approach might work with young people.

A Head Start

I reflected on my toughest cases over the years, those children and adolescents who seemed unstoppable in their deviant behaviors. How many of them were criminally insane?

Let me see … it was about … well, it was about …. ZERO. I have never worked with a youngster who was criminally insane. I had a head start on Dr. Hew Len all along, and didn’t even know it.

Easy to Blame

It’s easy to blame a youngster for all the problems, distractions and disruptions they leave in their wake. Believe me, I’ve done my share of blaming. But I cannot remember the blaming ever creating much change.

It’s only when we change ourselves that others (especially the younger ones we work with everyday) can best reflect it back to us. It’s a much tougher job than blaming, but the benefits are pretty awesome.


Dr. Hew Len shares that his mentor kept a placard on her desk that read: Peace begins with me. It was a statement of profound responsibility and action.

I wish us all the “burden” of that kind of peace.

James Sutton, Psychologist

(To download my newest (FREE) 16-page e-book, Resolving Conflict with Your Children, click on this link. The principles introduced in this post are discussed in this e-book.)

September 6, 2007 - Posted by | adversity, Counselors, Difficult Child, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem

1 Comment »

  1. You have given me great thoughts to consider. May peace be with us and may it begin with me!


    Comment by tobeme | September 10, 2007 | Reply

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