(Image courtesy of http://www.wdyl.com.)

The results are in: The Love Approach works!

I didn't get to try it on my class since testing changed the daily schedule this week, but I did try it on a few different students throughout the week.  Today, in fact, I practiced
it on two football players.  Starting Monday, they will be suspended two days for disrupting a class.  Of course, this behavior cannot go unpunished, and as a football player, they are held twice responsible.

After I told them my thoughts on the subject, I asked them what they thought: "Do you think I'm being unfair?  What do you think about what happened?"  I then gave them the opportunity to speak.  I did my best not to interrupt them even when I disagreed; the point was to show them that I cared about them by listening attentively.

After a bit, when one of the players began saying how it wasn't his fault he got in trouble, I did cut him off.  I said, "Whoa!  Don't say another word.  As soon as you say you didn't do anything, you are saying it's not your responsibility anymore.  But it is."  Then I shared with him this analogy:

"Imagine you pour yourself a cup of milk and set it on the table.  Then you reach across the table and accidentally spill the milk.  Who's fault is it?" I asked him.

"Mine," he replied, smiling as he began to see where I was going.

"Exactly.  And whose job is it to clean it up?" I prodded.

"Me," he said in reply.

"Right.  Just because you didn't try to get in trouble, doesn't mean it's still not your fault.  It's called taking responsibility for your actions."

Since I had listened to him, he was much more open to hearing my response and even understand the point I was trying to make.

Actually, the Love Approach is nothing new.  Jesus spoke of it thousands of years ago in Matthew 22.  In verse 39, after Jesus says the Greatest Commandment is "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind," He says, "to love your neighbor as yourself."  Jesus spoke the Love Approach right there; if we treat others how we want to be treated, we are practicing the Love Approach.

Everyone wants to be heard.  Instead of demanding others hear you first, try listening first to others.  The results may surprise you.

"A man is already halfway in love with any woman who listens to him" (Brendan Francis).