Internet Safety

Raising Responsible Kids with Love and Logic: Making the Internet Safer for Your Kids

By Dr. Charles Fay of Love and Logic

Love and Logic is the school-wide discipline program embraced by Alaka’i O Kaua’i.

According to a survey from the Love and Logic Institute, one in five American parents is more concerned about the negative impact of the Internet than of television, friends, movies, or even popular music.

The World Wide Web contains some very real risks. But if parents follow several simple yet powerful steps, they can protect their children from inappropriate and potentially dangerous Internet content, while also allowing them to experience the benefits of a wired world.

The Internet is like any other powerful tool. It takes training and guidance to use it well and to use it without getting hurt.

As a teenager, I received my first lesson on the use of a very powerful and dangerous tool — a chainsaw. My father was careful to stand close by and guide me. Children need the same type of careful teaching and supervision while they learn to use the Internet. Here are some specific Love and Logic tips for keeping your kids safe and helping them make responsible choices about the Web:

Tip #1: Don’t rely on electronic safeguards. Will your child’s first car, his first girlfriend, or her first year of college be equipped with a device designed to limit harmful information or activity? Electronic safeguards are no substitute for good parental role modeling, supervision, and guidance. This approach also teaches children to learn how to make wise choices by giving them plenty of practice as they encounter tough choices on the Web and in the real world.

Tip #2: Keep the computer out of your child’s room. Despite children’s protests, parents have a right and a responsibility to have the computer someplace where they can stay in touch with how it’s used.

Tip #3: Have honest discussions and set positive expectations. One of the most powerful things a parent can say about the Internet is this: “There are a lot of not-so-great things on the Web. The good news is that you’re the kind of kid who can make smart choices about what he looks at and what he doesn’t.” Research shows children tend to live up to such positive expectations.

Tip #4: Set a reasonable time limit for daily use.

Tip #5: Expect your child to pay for excessive or inappropriate use of the computer. When your child exceeds the time limit you’ve set or views inappropriate material, he or she should be expected to pay for that time. Kids can pay with extra chores, money they’ve saved, or possessions.

The Love and Logic Institute has received many grateful phone calls and letters from parents who report this approach has changed their lives with their kids. One mother commented, “My boy sure is making better choices about the computer now that he knows I’ll hold him accountable for his poor ones.”

Give Love and Logic a try, and join thousands of parents who now have kids who are better prepared for the challenges of the real world.

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Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 7 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach.

So here we are. We’ve explored six of the seven habits and why they’re important to us and our learners at Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School, and hopefully by this point you feel more equipped and empowered to approach your own life and work with clearer focus and vision.

But how do we maintain that energy?

That’s where Habit 7 comes in — Sharpen the Saw. Incorporating the 7 Habits into your life is all about achieving balance. But living a life in balance means taking the necessary time to renew yourself. It’s all up to you. You can renew yourself through relaxation, or you can totally burn yourself out by overdoing everything.

“Sharpen the Saw” means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have — you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Here are some examples:

  • Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting.
  • Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others.
  • Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching.
  • Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service, etc.

The point is, if we don’t take the time to recharge and renew ourselves regularly, we will burn out and find our efforts stale.

As Dr. Steven Covey said, “Renewal is the principle — and the process — that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.”

What that sharpening looks like will vary from person to person. For you, sharpening the saw might mean taking a 10-15-minute walk every day where you can decompress and not focus on day-to-day responsibilities. Or maybe it means better structuring your workweek so on weekends you can focus primarily on family time. Whatever your saw-sharpening looks like, find something that works for you.

As the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To make the most of the 7 Habits in improving yourself, your life, and your work, it cannot be a piecemeal effort. Each enhances and strengthens the others. Step by step, find the balance of incorporating each habit — and don’t neglect yourself. Sharpen that saw so that you can truly be your best.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

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Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 6 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach.

Whether in the classroom, the workplace, relationships, or life in general, learning to compromise can be an important and helpful tool. However, what if there were a way to even further enrich and strengthen our communication and interactions?

That’s what’s behind Habit #6: Synergize.

Synergy brings into focus the old adage that “two heads are better than one.” Instead of merely striking a compromise, synergy allows us to creatively collaborate with others and find new solutions to problems. The essence of synergy is to value and respect our differences, build on strengths, and compensate for weaknesses.

In Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School culture, when learners are incorporating this habit into their lives, they’re learning to work in groups and building and reinforcing a mind-set that says, “I get along well with others — even people who are different from me.” That lays the foundation to a long-lasting collaborative approach to life in a multicultural and interdependent world.

There are a couple of helpful steps to know if you’re in synergy:

  • You have a change of heart.
  • You feel new energy and excitement.
  • You see things in a new way.
  • You feel that the relationship has transformed.
  • You end up with an idea or a result that’s better than what either of you started with.

One of the most important keys to synergizing is learning to trust, and that trust is built through communication.

Take, for example, these three levels of communication and the associated levels of trust:

  • Defensive communication comes out of low-trust situations. It’s characterized by defensiveness, protectiveness, and legalistic language that prepares for the eventuality that things may go wrong, and that people may become resentful. Such communication isn’t effective and produces only win/lose or lose/lose outcomes.
  • Respectful communication is characterized by honesty, authenticity, and respect that produces a low form of win/win, a compromise where one plus one equals one-and-a-half.
  • Synergistic communication means that one plus one may equal 8, 16, or even 1,600. The situation produced is better than any originally proposed.

When we learn to see our individual differences as strengths instead of weaknesses, we are well on our way to learning to synergize.

Join us next week as we explore the seventh and final habit: Sharpen the Saw.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

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Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 5 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach.

They say communication is key, but if we lack understanding in our relationships and interactions, how can we ever hope to truly, clearly communicate?

This week, we’re examining Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood.

Many of us often seek first to be understood; we want to get our point across. But in doing so, it’s easy to ignore the other person completely, pretend that we’re listening, selectively hear certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. And so, what happens is that we filter everything through our life experiences and decide what someone means before they’ve even finished.

But is that the most effective communication?

Our listening tends to fall into four categories:

  1. Ignoring: We’re not listening at all.
  2. Pretending: We may say “uh-huh, right,” but we’re not really tuned in.
  3. Selective listening: We hear part of what the person says, but the rest of the time we’re distracted.
  4. Attentive listening: We’re actively listening, paying attention but not taking our listening to the ultimate level — empathetic listening.

Dr. Stephen Covey defined empathetic listening as listening with the intent to truly understand. To really understand, we need to get inside another person’s frame of reference, and see the world from their point of view. Our listening also needs to be driven by an authentic desire to understand the other person and to build trust with them.

As part of the Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School educational model, we encourage learners to incorporate the following practices into their communication:

  • I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings.
  • I try to see things from their viewpoints.
  • I listen to others without interrupting.
  • I am confident in voicing my ideas.
  • I look people in the eyes when talking.

When we listen with the intent to understand others, instead of simply with the intent to reply, we begin true communication and relationship-building. Seeking to understand takes kindness; seeking to be understood takes courage. Effectiveness in our communication thrives in a balance of the two.

Join us next week as we explore Habit #6: Synergize.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

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Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 4 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach.

“In the long run, if it isn’t a win for both of us, we both lose. That’s why win-win is the only real alternative in interdependent realities.”

— Dr. Stephen Covey

This week, we’re examining Habit #4: Think Win-Win. Someone with a win-win mind-set sees life as a cooperative arena, instead of a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions, and means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying.

Why is this habit so vital to us at Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School? Because none of us lives in a vacuum. Every day, we interact with other people who have their own sets of passions, motivations, and priorities. So how do we successfully navigate the world as an individual among many other individuals?

Dr. Stephen Covey held that a person or organization approaching conflicts with a win-win attitude possesses three vital character traits:

  • Integrity: sticking with your true feelings, values, and commitments
  • Maturity: expressing your ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others
  • Abundance Mentality: believing there is plenty for everyone

Developing a win-win approach is also beneficial to our growth and maturity. As we seek to have win-win interactions and relationships, we develop our humility, better recognize the humanity of those around us, develop long-term perspectives, and also learn to become more assertive.

There are four steps that can help the win-win process be truly beneficial for all involved:

  • See the problem from others’ perspectives to understand their needs and concerns
  • Identify the key issues and concerns involved
  • Determine what results could make for a fully acceptable situation
  • Identify options for how to achieve those results.

Developing a win-win mind-set is an important step toward being a more collaborative individual, which is at the heart of what the Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School learning model is all about. Win-win is certainly a balancing act, but when we strike that balance everyone benefits.

Join us next week as we explore Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

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Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 3 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach. You can find more articles by clicking here.

This week, we look at Habit #3: Put First Things First. This habit, which all of us at Alaka`i O Kaua`i are working to put into practice, is about identifying and organizing one’s priorities. In essence, someone who puts first things first is saying, “I spend time on things that are most important. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow a plan. I’m disciplined and organized.”

Dr. Stephen Covey said that “first things” are basically all those things that you value most in your life. So, you should manage your schedule according to your priorities to get all essential things done on time.

Skills that can be learned by putting first things first include:

  • Time management
  • Cultivating a strong work ethic, flexibility, and adaptability
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Self-management
  • Being accountable and responsible for actions and results
  • Cultivating analytical skills

An effective way to implement Habit #3, according to Covey, is breaking down activities into four quadrants of urgency and importance:

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and important
  • Quadrant 2: Not urgent and important
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent and not important
  • Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important

Covey suggests you become more aware of your internal drive, values, and goals. This makes it easier to say “yes” to the actions that are based on these factors. This way, values and goals are less often overruled by (non-important) urgent matters. Remember that whenever you say “yes” to one thing, you will no longer have time for something else. Time is the most valuable and least replaceable of all resources. Things that appear urgent will most likely trigger a “yes” if you are asked to help out. It’s useful to understand that saying “no” is also a legitimate option.

By identifying what’s most important to you, and where your passions lie, you can more easily learn to put first things first.

Join us next week as we explore Habit #4: Think Win-Win.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

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Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 2 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach. You can find more articles by clicking here.

When was the last time you went on a trip to a new place without first looking up directions? Unless you have a superhuman sense of direction, you searched for how to get where you were going, whether on your phone or an old-school paper map. That’s what this week’s habit is all about.

Last week, we discussed the first of the 7 Habits: Be Proactive. A proactive person believes in taking responsibility for their lives and investing their time and energy on things within their control — and not losing sleep over the things they can’t control.

But how does one successfully lead a proactive life? Part of the answer lies in Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind. Starting a proactive journey is difficult if you don’t know where you are trying to go. Beginning with the end in mind is very much like consulting a road map.

In short, to begin with the end in mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of the desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing one’s proactive muscles to make things happen.

To reinforce a mind-set of beginning with the end in mind, Dr. Stephen Covey encouraged developing what he called a personal mission statement. It focuses on what you want to be and do. It is your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life.

So what does it look like for learners to embrace a Habit 2 mind-set and develop their personal mission statements? Helpful steps include reminding themselves of the following:

  • I plan ahead and set goals for myself.
  • I am prepared at all times.
  • I think about how the choices I make now will affect my future.
  • I think about the positive or negative consequences of my actions before I act.

Do you know why Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s focus on developing children who are free thinkers fits so well with the 7 Habits? Because, for instance, Habit 2 is based on imagination — the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. When children are empowered to imagine what can be, the results can be incredibly inspiring.

Join us next week as we explore Habit #3: Put First Things First.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

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Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 1 of the 7 Habits

Last week, we introduced a vital element of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s approach to education — The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Learning and practicing the 7 Habits has been instrumental to our learners’ success living out the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School motto of “free to think, inspired to lead” — not to mention how it helps our staff thrive.

This week, we’re continuing to unpack the habits with Habit #1: Be Proactive. In short, being proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control.

In general, most of us fall into one of two categories: Either we’re reactive to situations in life, affected by factors outside of ourselves and believing we have no control over situations — or we are proactive, realizing that we are “response-able” and that we have freedom to choose our responses. A proactive individual peppers their language with “I can” and “I will,” while a reactive person falls back on “I can’t” or “if only.”

In short, proactive people focus their efforts on what Dr. Stephen Covey calls their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about, like health or problems at work. On the flip side, reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern — things over which they have little or no control.

It has been amazing to see how understanding these concepts empowers Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learners to take charge and command over both their education and their lives. We’ve seen time and again how it trickles down to every aspect of their lives, and that is at the heart of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School model: developing the whole child so that they are equipped to live with purpose and intent.

As Dr. Covey said, “The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct, and learn from it.” When children learn to apply this in an academic setting, it can only spread to every other area of life.

Next week, we’ll continue exploring what makes the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School approach to education so innovative, explaining Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

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Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: The 7 Habits

We’re happy to introduce a new series of articles in the Monday Message, aimed at unpacking some of the essentials of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School educational model.

Our educational model is driven by much more than simply making sure children are good students. Rather, it’s focused on equipping them to be lifelong learners who are fully developed and prepared to lead in the 21st century.

Whether you’ve been part of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School family for a while or are fairly new, you’ve most likely heard a lot of talk about “The 7 Habits” and how important they are to what we do. Stephen Covey’s best-selling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been deeply influential in the shaping of our approach to project-based learning, as well as our staff development. We are constantly inspired by how we see our learners put the 7 Habits into action.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll expand on each of the habits, how they relate to learning at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and even practical ways you can incorporate them into your daily life.

To get things started, though, we wanted to take today to introduce the 7 Habits.

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive: Being proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. Proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control.
  • Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind: At the heart of this is beginning each day, task, or project with a clear vision of one’s desired direction and destination, and then continuing by flexing proactive muscles to make things happen.
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First: This is where Habits 1 and 2 come together. It happens day in and day out, moment by moment, and deals with many of the questions addressed in the field of time management. Habit 3 is about life management, as well — your purpose, values, roles, and priorities.
  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win: This habit presents life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. A win-win approach means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying.
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood: This habit can help transform communication. Too often, many of us can listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. We can filter everything we hear through our life experiences and our frame of reference. Consequently, we decide prematurely what the other person means before they finish communicating.
  • Habit 6: Synergize: This is the habit of creative cooperation. It’s a process of teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems. It thrives on the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: Living a life in balance means taking the necessary time to renew yourself. To “sharpen the saw” means to preserve and enhance the greatest asset you have — you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Coming up next week, we’ll dive into the first habit, Be Proactive, discussing what it looks like in practical terms and how you can make it part of your life.