Lee St. John, a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, is a No.1 Amazon ranked humorous author. Look for her on Facebook, Twitter (@LeeStJohnauthor), and her blog at www.leestjohnauthor.com. Her new release, “SHE’S A KEEPER! Cockamamie Memoirs from a Hot Southern Mess” can be found on Amazon.com.

In my books, I sometimes dole out advice whether you want it or not. There have been tips about Do-It-Yourself-Dentistry, Better-Tomato-Gardening, and today I am giving you tips on how to have better disciplined young children. Mine are grown. There is nothing more I can really do except let them figure it out for themselves. Some of you still have another option.
In the early 1990s, I had been out of education for a decade. Did I really want to go back? I tried my hand at substitute teaching first, you know, the job that doesn’t have much respect by students. Their mentality was “How much can we get away with today with this stupid person?” I had four years previously in the classroom and knew what they were thinking, so I decided to beat them at their own game.
Students’ parents signed a waiver giving permission to allow the use of any image of their child for any type of school related media – school calendars, newspaper stories of school events, and any other kind of visuals that might be used in the media promoting the school system. But nothing was said of audio recordings. So, every middle or high school I walked in to ‘babysit’ that day, I first stopped by the media center, asked for a tape recorder and blank cassette tape, walked confidently toward the classroom with both, and set the recorder at the front of the classroom for all to see. When the bell rang to start class, before I took roll, I proceeded to tell the reason for the recording device. I was going to audio tape their voices and behavior that day and give it to their teacher along with my notes about this particular class.
After that announcement, in front of the entire class, I pushed the record/play buttons at the same time to start the process…and I pushed them with grandeur to dramatize the moment so they were aware that their behavior was being monitored starting at that point. Everything was transparent. At the end of the day, I placed my notes and the cassette in her teacher box so she would have it immediately when she checked for an update of how things went when she was absent. She could hear how it went.
Believe me, it worked. Sometimes when the class was a little rowdy, I called down a student or two, first, with their voices being captured on the recording and then second, with their names, as the teacher might have heard, “Abigail? Settle down a bit.” One time when the behavior was recorded, it enhanced a case about a student who was disruptive with his regular teacher, also. And that was good ammunition for her to discipline that pupil.
I tell mothers today about how they can keep their children in line either at home or as importantly – in public! Wish I could have taken my own advice. My boys are 33 and 25. In this eight-year age difference there were inventions that did improve my mothering capabilities from the oldest to the youngest. But what I needed most hadn’t been invented yet…the photo/video options of the cell phone.
Why did I need this phone function and what do I tell mothers today about why they should administer this photo/video recording on their own children? Because when children, like my own did at times, start acting out – record it. There really is no discussion later when you disagree over the behavior you wanted changed. The child ( I think you could do this step even as young as three? ) sees his/her action that you want thwarted and instead of ” intentionally not remembering” or “really not remembering”, the incident is captured to hone in on the behavior you want improved.
You’re welcome.