Making Changes After Training

by Mary Ann on June 28, 2010



I really enjoy reading articles written by Kerry Patterson. I wanted to share one tidbit that came from his newsletter, Kerrying On. It specifically relates to the challenge parents may experience in implementing change in their homes after they’ve been inspired by some workshop or training.

Here’s the specific question that Kerry was responding to in his newsletter.

“Everyone liked the ideas and wanted to do something new, but we haven’t been very good at transferring what we learned in training to how we behave at work. Some of us have tried a few of the skills; others haven’t done much at all. What can we do to kick-start our interest and actually change how we behave at work?”

It’s happened to me and I bet it’s happened to you—feeling inspired and motivated by a fabulous class, only to get home and have life kick in again. There are dishes and meals and bills. The baby gets sick and the garden needs weeding. So many parents realize that they will have to implement what they learned next week, or as soon as they get the closet cleaned out or the toys sorted or the wedding over…..

Recently I received an email from a mom I have worked with who’s experiencing the same challenge as Kerry’s questioner. She loves the idea of  The Spark Station but isn’t having the success she hoped for. She just can’t seem to put what she learned in my class into practice. She has found herself falling back into the old way of doing things and so isn’t having success. It is discouraging for her.

You may be experiencing the same malady. You like the idea of having a warm and close family culture. You love the idea that you can create an environment that will stimulate educational engagement and actually help your kids LOVE learning. However, the days turn into weeks and then into months and as in the case of one of the families I worked with, years.

“We attended the first Core and Love of Learning seminar when the TJEd Ingredients were first given.  That is when we learned the concept of The Closet. We left the seminar excited and ready to implement a dozen new things in our home school.  Unfortunately everything didn’t go as planned.

Our biggest stumbling block was trying to decide what went in The Closet. . . I also didn’t have an actual closet that could be closed or locked and at the time my children were all under the age of 6.  We made a couple of tries (which amounted to about 2 days each) and let the idea kind of fall by the wayside with the hope that we would come back to it later. 4-5 years later, here we are and are ready to try again.” (The concept of the Closet was the precursor to the Spark Station which is more user friendly.)

As the time passes good intentions turn into apathy, apathy reverts to old habits, and old habits become guilt.

Let’s put down the guilt right now and pick up progress! I’m here to help, and you can do this!

I want to pass on six techniques that Kerry shared with his own readers to help support the changes you want to make.

By the way, the following six tools come from the book Influencer: How to Change Anything, which is a book worth putting on your reading list. I really enjoyed it and learned a great deal.

  1. Value links – When someone takes my class they may want to make changes because they want their children to love to learn. They want to stop pushing and getting into power struggles over when and what a child will learn. Many want to create a more peaceful, warm and inviting learning environment. Instead of just focusing on what you learn in a book or a training, think about the underlying values. As you link the behavior changes you want to the values you care about chances are better that you will make those changes. In other words, ask yourself the question, “Why am I choosing to engage in Leadership Education? What are the final outcomes that matter most to me?”
  2. Advanced learning – Most training gets you started on a new path but then you need to extend and broaden your understanding. Talk with other parents about what you heard. Then read. It is very valuable to read the classics on leadership education. You can find some of these classic works at
  3. Meet with your spouse or yourself – At the end of a training or book lay out a plan to implement what you learned. Decide what you can do and then begin. “Your class was wonderful! I loved it. In fact I used a “Spark Station” today for the first time in our home school. I have always been waiting for that perfect day in a perfect world, when I had the perfect Spark Station…which day was not coming anytime soon! After going to your class, I threw together some fun things in some clear Tupperware containers, and Voila! Our temporary Spark Station. How liberating! It was wonderful! We had a great school day together. Thank you so much! Elizabeth L.”
  4. Maintenance group – Find one or two people who have read the book or been through the training. Meet together monthly and talk about what is working and what might need help. Discuss common problems and work together to improve your ability to live new principles. You can really improve your skills by getting honest feedback in a safe environment.
  5. Rewards – Reward yourself and your family for living in a new way, behaving in a new way and doing something better. Go to the movie, take everyone out for ice cream or go camping, something that you and everyone will enjoy and look forward to.
  6. Reminders – When you meet with your spouse or yourself talk about what is working, what isn’t, and any corrections you are making. Review the values that matter to you and the principles you are working to implement. When you care about something you talk about it and you think about it.

If you use some of these suggestions in any combination, the chances that you will continue to practice and get better will increase. If you use four or more, then you will increase your ability to transfer the principles and skills that you learn to your home.

You can read Kerry’s original article at

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