Progressive Parenting Poop

By James L. Casale


Did you ever wonder why this current generation is filled with so many “snowflakes”? These are the kids who were awarded a trophy even if they came in last. Generally speaking, our current young people can’t seem to cope with anything and our education institutions comply. When Hillary Rodham Clinton lost the 2016 election, the schools and colleges provided not only counseling but cry rooms. God help us.

What Constitutes Effective Parenting?

Parenting is a serious and sacred undertaking. It requires accurate knowledge, thoughtfulness, patience, prayer and practice. When I see or read about kids and young adults who “don’t have a clue” about what it means to be a grown up, my thoughts are laser focused on the parenting these kids received. But I also understand that kids, especially the older ones, make choices they often regret.

Here is a sample of the some of the progressive nonsense that passes for effective parenting as proposed by Ronica O’Hara, author of an article, Mindful Parenting, that appeared in Natural Awakenings Magazine. (Nov.2020):

“parents can only be effective by knowing themselves via therapy, reading, journaling, and meditation.

“discipline your child from a place of presence or awakened consciousness.”

She adds more poop from other like-minded authors but I will spare you their thoughts.


The Real World

It’s not totally progressive nonsense. If the reader digs deeper and reads between the lines while holding her nose, there are few nuggets to be found.

  • If mindfulness means thinking clearly about your family mission statement that emphasizes character building and life-long learning, I’m all for it.
  • If mindfulness means reflecting and self-assessing based on your family goals, I’m all for it.
  • I always recommend journaling for parents. It assists in reflection and self-assessment.
  • If meditation means prayers to God Almighty and the Saints, I’m all for it.
  • Don’t stop reading and learning. Don’t confine yourself to parenting books.
  • Connectedness: you must forge positive relationships with your children. This is crucial and demonstrates your leadership qualities. Read leadership books.
  • Don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t beat yourself up. Recognize and admit your mistakes, keep learning, then move on.

There is much more to the parenting journey than “mindfulness”. Parenting is not quantum physics, brain surgery, or completing a triathlon; it’s harder. Focus on common sense and accurate information. Stay in shape and eat healthy. Remain positive and joyful.

Books Worth Reading

  1. The 12 Rules of Life by Jordan Peterson.
  2. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
  3. The Five Parenting Commandments by James L Casale
  4. Corps Values by Zell Miller
  5. Character Carved in Stone by Pat Williams
  6. The Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World by Chris and Ted Stewart.
  7. Wisdom of the Ages by Wayne Dyer
  8. Words That Hurt, Words That Heal by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
  9. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  • Leadership as an Art by Max Dupree



Dr. Casale is a state and national award-winning educator, the author of three parenting books and numerous essays. In 1974 he was selected as the Florida Teacher of the Year, the first male teacher to receive this recognition. While serving as principal of Purchase School in Harrison, New York in 1988, his school was selected by the United States Department of Education as a National School of Excellence. He has two children and four grandchildren.


He is available as a speaker.


How Valuable Are Kindergarten Teachers?


My boyhood friend, Guy Protano is so excited and full of pride for his outstanding kindergarten teacher granddaughter that he asked me to write an article about her. I will share her story later in this article. Her name is Nicole King.

My opinion on why kindergarten teachers are so valuable is based on my 34 years in the public school system. I served parents and the community as a classroom teacher, an elementary principal and an assistant superintendent of schools.

Teachers as Artists

Buttressing my opinion is the classic essay that appeared in the Kansas City Times and was made famous by the commentary of Robert Fulghum, ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN. In 1991, my three kindergarten teachers, Lisa, Lucia, and Phyllis gifted a copy to me. It’s a great gift for parents too.

Kindergarten teachers and all superior teachers are genuine artists. Lay people don’t often think of teachers as true artists but they are in every sense of the word. Outstanding teaching is an art form. Usually when someone mentions an artist, the mind wanders to names like Frank Sinatra, Leonardo DaVinci, David McCollough, Ana Pavlova, Michelangelo, Georgia O’Keeffe or Leonard Bernstein.  Do you think any of these famous artists could teach a kindergarten class? No Way!

The formal definition of “the arts” refers to the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture producing works to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. Well, did you ever see an extraordinary kindergarten teacher or any outstanding teacher perform?

I evaluated many “teachers as artists’ ‘ I am a bonified witness to their creativity, imagination, beauty, truth and emotional power. It’s a thrilling experience.

Highly effective teachers -like artists- act instinctively. It’s part of their repertoire. And they are the whole package: researcher, writer, planner, organizer, performer, and self-assessor.

Many great artists have legacies but none so great as an inspiring teacher who can influence lives and behaviors and learning. A parent recently reminded me of remarks I made at a kindergarten graduation. Many years ago. I said kindergarten teachers should make more money than other teachers including college professors. I have to rethink that because after teaching as a college adjunct professor for six years, I realized that professors don’t make much money. Anyway, you know what I mean.

And the Research Says

The reason kindergarten teachers are so valued is because they are responsible for components of learning that provide a path to school and life success in later years; social and emotional skills.

Daniel Goleman, in his ground breaking book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ, states the following:

A report from the National Center for Clinical Infant Programs makes the point that school success is not predicted by a child’s fund of facts or a precocious ability to read so much as emotional and social measures: being self- assured and interested, knowing what kind of behavior is expected and how to rein in the impulse to misbehave; being able to wait, to follow directions and to turn to teachers for help; and expressing needs while getting along with other children.

Almost all students who do poorly in school, says the report, lack one or more of these elements.


Kindergarten teachers, more so than other teachers, are charged with the social and emotional learning of their five-year old students. Parents take heed because you can learn much from the great ones. After all, parents are the first teachers, role models, and influencers.

Who is Nicole King?

And now to Nicole King. This is how my friend Guy describes his granddaughter to me.   “Nicole goes above and beyond every single year to make sure her kids have the best kindergarten experience possible. She spends countless hours at night prepping for activities, works through her whole summer break to ensure that her room is perfect and ready for the kids. This year she was selected as “The Teacher of the Year” at her school. I couldn’t be prouder of her because I watch her pour her heart and soul into it daily.”

My friend said it best and now you know why Nicole is a genuine artist who will enjoy a legacy that others only dream of. She has the dedication, perseverance, and devotion to her profession that includes never being satisfied and trying to get better all the time. Isn’t that the way it should be?



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How Can Parents Survive the Pandemic and Beyond? Routines, Routines, Routines


How Can Parents Survive the Pandemic and Beyond?

Routines, Routines, Routines


James L. Casale 


The current state of affairs has plunged ordinary households into an abyss of chaos, confusion, bewilderment, curiosity, and panic, aka “What the hell do we do now?” Parents didn’t sign up for this “school stuff.” We pay taxes, and some of us pay both taxes and tuition to have professionals teach our kids away from home. 

It’s no longer: “I’d rather be fishing.” It’s: “I’d rather be at work, mowing the lawn, or food shopping rather than staying home with these insatiable, selfish, grumpy, attention-seeking, irresponsible, and always-hungry munchkins.”


Equip parents now and forever on how to maintain some semblance of sanity and civility while avoiding the necessity of hiring a mental health professional. Provide at least one strategy that will ease the parenting journey through this pandemic, the next pandemic, and beyond if a private school in Switzerland is not an option.

Four Promises:

  • I promise not to weep when someone suggests that you must “stay positive.”
  • I promise not to wince or run away when you are told, “You are in charge.”
  • I promise not to hire a tutor or any other professional even if they dress in radioactive gear.
  • I promise not to call Dr. Fauci for advice or my parents for babysitting.

Routines, Routines, Routines

If your home is devoid of structure, expectations, and routines, expect chaos, confusion, and constipation. You are trying to row your boat without oars, to fly without wings. A sign in Mr. Dawson’s mechanical drawing class at Harrison High School in Harrison, NY read, “Plan your work; work your plan.” You are required to have a plan that all house members embrace. That plan is based on routines such as: we all routinely speak kindly and respectfully to each other. We routinely care about each other and accept our responsibilities as family members.

If the three most important words in real estate are location, location, location, then the three most important words for your family school are routines, routines, routines. Hold on to routines like a life raft. While maintaining high expectations, accept even the smallest improvement as a win.

James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits, reminds us that small improvements have meaning and “the difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding.” For example, telling a child to clean up her room has many components: make the bed, pick up your clothes from the floor and deliver them to the laundry room, vacuum the floor, dust, etc. But if a child starts with making the bed (my personal favorite) that is an improvement. By the way, that does not mean you are expected to pick up those dirty crusty clothes off the floor. Don’t do it.

Routines make sure that things get done. Thus, the home environment is more relaxed and less stressful. A sense of accomplishment ensues for both parents and kids. These accomplishments are part of the effective parenting paradigm.



Good News/Bad News

The good news-I hope- is that you already have household routines. The bad news, for some or most parents, is that your new pandemic duties -if your children are home-require you to be the Board of Education, superintendent of schools, principal, assistant principal, teacher, mentor, psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, curriculum director, nurse, aide, secretary, aka administrative assistant, bus driver, and maintenance supervisor. This may be a tad overwhelming.



Routines in Place

Routines in your household already exist. They vary based on the age of your children. Infants and toddlers require more of your time and energy. Or maybe not. If none of the following are familiar, you may have to seek counseling and pay for it. Or abandon your family completely and move to Costa Rica.

  • Going to bed/napping (not you). Be consistent here.
  • Waking up/getting out of bed. This is a requirement for all healthy parents.
  • Brushing teeth, showering, combing hair, etc. (Hair and nail salons may not be open. If they are, expect Black Friday crowds.)
  • Making beds (ha-ha). If not, teach them.
  • Tidying up their quarters and helping around the house and yard.
  • It’s an excellent academic exercise: language arts/math/science. And they can use it when they grow up.
  • All items for the washer and dryer must be brought to the laundry room by their owner.
  • Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner (no booze until all kids are tucked away).
  • Ordering take-out. You need a break, but not every night
  • Walking the dog. Includes picking up his poop.
  • Playing outside.
  • Playing inside. No fighting or throwing things.
  • Watching TV or using entertainment electronics (but not in their rooms).
  • Not watching TV and not using any entertainment electronics.
  • Family discussions.
  • Family disagreements.
  • Homework from those online courses
  • Praying some more that your house of worship opens soon.
  • If you have any other useful/normal family routines, please send them to me at

PS: If none of these exist in your household, I suggest you move your family off the grid, seek advice from the Alaskan Bush People, and start all over by building a shelter and locating food sources. The necessary routines will easily present themselves.


New Routines

If your household boasts even a modicum of the routines, you already have a blueprint for survival. Keep the ones you have if you are satisfied with them and haven’t yet called for the men in white coats and lose the ones that are causing you angst as well as upsetting the dog.

Yes, you are the leader. Please don’t wince.  Stephen R. Covey points out in his stellar book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, that the human interaction in your home can be a win/win that “seeks mutual benefit”. And that’s how routines work.

While schools remain closed and distance learning rules, the work schedules and routines dictated by the school may continue. My high school grandchildren attend to their distance learning at specific times. That’s called a routine. My college grandchildren have more freedom and choices and sometimes choose the times they will sit in front of a computer and learn stuff, unless it was a Zoom class, which has a specific time slot.

If parents build their family culture on a variety of routines and schedules and sprinkle in major doses of love, kindness, common sense, high expectations, responsibility, accurate information, modeling, leadership, and nutritional food, positive outcomes will follow. Oh, prayers help, too.

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Dr.Casale is a state and national award-winning educator. In 1974, he was selected as the Florida Teacher of the Year, the first male teacher to receive this recognition. While serving as principal of Purchase School in Harrison, New York, in 1988, his school was selected by the United States Department of Education as a National School of Excellence. He is the author of three parenting books.







Profiles in Attitude: Effective Parenting Begins Here

Profiles in Attitude: Effective Parenting Begins Here


James L. Casale


If you think parenting is a struggle, and mostly an uphill one, you are correct. However, you may need an attitude adjustment. There’s a reason that Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking sold five million copies. He was onto something so basic that all of us can identify with it: attitude not only matters; it’s the building block for the experiences that follow. Without it, parents have no starting point for their parenting journey. Hopefully, the following vignettes will inspire and encourage parents with the “I can do it” mindset.

You Must Believe in Yourself and Your Abilities

On September 11, 2014, a baseball thrown by Mike Fiers crashed into the left side of the batter’s face at 88 miles per hour, resulting in broken bones, smashed teeth, and unimaginable pain. How did the batter survive the physical and mental trauma, return to baseball the next season, and, in 2017, become the MVP and hit 59 home runs?

Other men hit by errant baseballs above the neck never returned to the “bigs,” and if they did, they were not the same players. But Giancarlo Stanton overcame his physical and mental injuries with exceptional resolve, courage, determination, and grit, all based on a foundation of believing in himself and his abilities. He had and still has attitude. He did make a minor adjustment to his batting helmet, which indicates lesson learned and good judgment.

Alvin Hall is probably unknown to you as one of the many thousands of thalidomide babies born with physical deformities. He was born without arms. This handicap did not deter him, because he still had a fully functioning brain and an ample supply of attitude. He did not grow up feeling sorry for himself. He charged ahead with the same determination and resolve that Giancarlo demonstrated and taught himself to play the drums and piano with his feet. He also became a motivational speaker.

Tom Dempsey, despite his physical handicaps, made history and was admired for what he had to overcome: a deformed right foot with no toes and a right hand with no fingers. He not only played in the NFL but was a star. On November 8, 1970, his 63-yard field goal as time expired won the game 19–17 for the New Orleans Saints over the Detroit Lions.

Have you ever heard about the Major League pitcher with no right hand? In 1986, he was presented with the United States Sports Academy’s Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Award for his courage in overcoming adversity to excel in sports. A year later, he won the Golden Spikes Award for being the best amateur player in the United States. In 1992, he was presented with the Tony Conigliaro Award, given annually by the Boston Red Sox to a Major League player who has overcome obstacles and adversity through spirit, determination, and courage. I will unabashedly substitute the word “attitude” for the word “spirit.” Oh, by the way, James Anthony Abbot also pitched a no-hitter for the New York Yankees against the Cleveland Indians in 1993. Yes, he was a good fielder too. He believed in himself and his abilities. He exuded attitude.

Have you seen the movie The Darkest Hour? Have you read the book? Winston Churchill was a rock of self-confidence, determination, commitment, and courage in the face of possibly being destroyed by the Nazis. He listened to advice and his critics but didn’t waver from his position of not giving in to Hitler’s demands. He would not capitulate, and later, during WWII, his famous words would resound around the world: “Never, never, never, never give up” He didn’t. He won. Hitler lost.

J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected 140 times. You know the rest of the story. Taylor Swift had her mom drive her around to every country radio station in the English-speaking world so she could give the disc jockeys a copy of her homemade CD. You know the rest of that story too.


Effective parenting is not brain surgery; it’s harder. But you are not alone. Accurate information is available in a variety of forms: books, magazines, research studies, podcasts, experts, websites, and sometimes grandma and grandpa. You chose to have children; your children didn’t choose you. Raising lifelong learners and men and women of character and virtue within a family culture that emphasizes kindness, respect, self-control, responsibility, and humility is your sacred duty. And it requires a positive attitude.