our blog

  • Josh Bolton

Interview with Paul Reeves

Updated: Apr 7

For some reason you're coming through on my computer instead of my headphones. I'm not sure why. Oh, okay. I'm not hearing feedback from me. So sounds good. Okay, just sound like I'm coming through the mic or from. It's a little. It's a little echoey. If you want to switch Go for it. Yeah, I already did. That's the odd thing. It's usually in the settings if you want to back out of the meeting, and then you go to your settings within zoom, and then reselect. The proper mic. Oh, within, okay. Right. And how do I do that? So you would have to leave the meeting. And then switch your settings, it will say audio, which is your mic, it will probably say your webcam. So you want to switch it to whatever the new one is? Then log back in. Okay. All right. I'll be right back. No problem. The actual like, I feel the most smarter. Help. The show. Bye. Paul, if you can hear me It says you didn't connect to the server. For audio. Okay, are you there, sir? Yes, that's much better. I love it. Okay, now, I can hear a bunch of like wind or air in the background on your end, or just something I'm doing. Um, yeah, I have a huge fan. But I have it set for when it recording to muffle that. Okay. So yeah, if it's a problem, sorry about that in advance. Oh, no. Just want to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong. Okay. So let's get into it. Tell me about yourself. Paul. Where are you from? Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Nice. What's it like over there? Have we started yet? Yeah. Oh, I'm sorry. It's all good. gateway restart, because I was just kind of relaxing here. Okay. Yeah. So tell me about yourself. Paul. Where you from? Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Nice. What's it like over there? This time of year it is doggone cold, like zero degrees. Kind of cold with snow. But we do have the Four Seasons here. So if you hang around long enough, the weather is absolutely perfect. Wow, that's nice. Yeah, here in California. There's like three seasons hot, hot and fucking hot. And that's it. Maybe some rain? Yeah. Okay, caught anytime. Well, this is the effin high gets you. It's 110 stuff. Yeah, that'll do it. That's a little too hot. But then again, I'd rather have that than zero. I'm just one of those people. That's true. Yeah, when I was a little heavier, I would love to cold weather. Now, Mike, I don't like if 60 degrees hurts. That's right. That makes a big difference for sure. So tell me about yourself. What do you do? As far as work? I retired from my career. I was an educator for a long time, a teacher for a while and a principal for a very long time school principal. Oh, nice. And I retired from that and got into all the things that I wanted to do full time before, which was start my own radio station, have my own radio show, write a bunch of books and record right and perform music. But tell me about the radio station. How did you went out building that? I had my own show on Detroit terrestrial radio for a few years. 690 am in Detroit. I did fairly well there got a pretty good following and then decided to do my own show. But to do so I had to start my own radio station. So I did that. And we broadcast 24. Seven. My shows are alive. But we have a lot of other people who contribute or I do other shows too. And they're recorded. And so we're going 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I'm loving every second of it. Awesome. So is it just more of a talk show or like a music one? My Well, my main show is called Dr. Paul's family talk and that's a little bit of everything. Okay, now, we used to have a lot more music on that show. But because of copyright issues, we don't feature music anymore. on that show. I would say copyrights in general has gotten out of hand now. Just like half a second, you're gonna get sued a million bucks. Yeah, yeah. And especially with the podcast, you legally we can't put music on the podcast page at all. So if I have it on the radio show, that's okay. I still have to pay for it. Right? I cannot put it on the podcast page, because there's no way for them to collect money for that. I've actually thought about it because my intro for this. I know it's a semi non. It's a copyrighted song. But it's only like two seconds. And the guy says he owns the rights. But I'm like, Yeah, but you own the rights. I don't know if I'm allowed to use it kind of thing. I'm not sure. I tried to get clarification on that. I think you can use up to X number of seconds, but I'm not sure what x is. And I don't think it's clearly defined. Yeah, right. Exactly. So I will just continue to do it until they tell you otherwise. Yeah, that's kind of the plan. Plus, I'm so small, if they actually say something and say, Oh, I made it because you're actually trying to get my money now. That's right. They want that extra two or three bucks a week, I guess, or whatever. They're, like, I'm all I'm doing is spending money right now. But all right, if you want my whatever money I'm throwing out, is that an extra five bucks a week for you? Yeah, that's that's exactly how it's working. And they're going after the podcasters. Because they didn't have to before because we didn't exist. But now that we do, I think last March, march of 2020, they got a court decision that allows them to do that. So yeah, that's, that's how I found out about they contacted me directly and said, Hey, get the music off or start paying us like, Well, okay, you know, I just didn't know, I'm not trying to cheat here. I just didn't know what to do. Right. And it's usually they have to give you at least a fair warning before they take like precautions, I think. Yeah, and they did. And you know, I had to join ASCAP, and BMI, and make sure I'm all registered with the station and pay the fee, pay the yearly fee and then pay the per song fee. Right? Yeah, it adds up. So we got to be careful. It does. And that's when you need more sponsors. You can afford stuff like that, right? That's right. Exactly. Right. Have the podcasts would be like alright, and this segment of the podcast is sponsored by. That's right. You just want to send us in. And also this sentence is sponsored by? Well, you're not kidding. Yeah, you gotta pay for some aren't. Right. So gosh, you said so much. So what was it like as a principal? Well, I loved every second of it. But I also wanted to be a principal ever since I was a kid. And I thought, you know, if I can get to a school where every kid's education, kind of sort of relies on me, yeah, that would be a great situation, because I can help a whole bunch of kids. And that's what I did. And of course, I didn't directly teach the kids in the classroom, the teachers did that. So I had to help the teachers to help kids. And the bottom line is we ended up with great schools, great learning high test scores, a lot of kids who went on to high school are successful in high school, and they went on to college after him. Wow. So I've always been curious about principles. I've always considered them kind of business people, would you consider them a type of like, intrapreneur kind of thing? Well, it depends on the setting. What. And I've had different jobs at different schools at one school that had I think about 400 kids, and they wanted to get 600, because the state of Michigan at the time, I think they still do they send you money based on your enrollment. And so at the time, I think we get $7,000 for every kid. So if you get 200 more kids, times $7,000. Are you talking about real money, and it's not only that year, but you get it the next year, and the year after, and so on, so forth. So it adds up quickly. And so I became became somewhat of an entrepreneur recruiting in, you know, schmoozing parents and taking them on tours and telling them why we had the best school in town. And then we got to 200. And then we had to close enrollment, and we kept it there for a long time. So from that standpoint, yes, but really a school principal, the way I define it, he or she is in charge of every thing, every big thing, every little thing, test scores, the cleanliness of the bathrooms and everything in between. So you would be without the catastrophic effect of like a CEO, essentially. Yeah, yeah, very much. So. And it depends on how much you want to put into it. There are a lot of people who become principals because they want to relax and not do much. And you can sometimes get away with that. Oh, yeah, yeah. And you're also teaching the kids in the community, if you do that, and collecting a paycheck for doing very little. Or you can be like other people are, that's how I was I was very hands on, I kind of kind of sort of knew what was going on at all times, every class, every kid, every teacher, and that's the only way when you keep an eye on things. If something begins to go off track, you can find a way to get back on track before it totally fails. Okay, so then we want to give a couple stories of how that works, how you would make sure it wouldn't go off track. Yeah, one of the big ones. It has to do with curriculum, and you know, I was a teacher for a number of years. So I know what it's like to be a classroom teacher. And you get into the zone and you just kind of Want to do your own thing? Leave me alone. I'll teach the kids and I'll talk to you in June when the year is up. Yeah, but that's not the way it works anymore. The state has certain things that they need taught at each grade level, and then they'll test you on it. So if you haven't taught those elements, and the kids haven't learned them, when it comes to the test, you're going to do poorly, which would reflect bad on that teacher, but it would also reflect on me poorly as a principal. You know, Paul, what the heck you're doing your social studies scores went down? Well, yeah, cuz this guy didn't teach when he was supposed to, well, whose fault is that? Well, it's the teachers fault. It's also my fault. And they'll probably make it more my fault than his fault, because I had control to change the situation. Right. So I always went into every single classroom, at least once a day, and sometimes more than once, just to make sure that teachers were teaching what they were supposed to take. There are other reasons I went in there to to check on the kids and be visible. But if they're supposed to be teaching fractions this week in a math class, they better be teaching fractions that week, if they're teaching something about algebra, well, that doesn't come till later. So we got to get back to fractions. So that was my job to get them back on track. So things like that. And if you let that go, if you don't go into classroom at all, and they never get to fractions, the kids aren't going to do very well on fractions when it comes to the testing. Right. So then, would you say as the principal and monitoring everything, there was that multi layer leveling of monitoring, but not micromanaging? The people? Right? Definitely. Yeah, I tried the fact I don't think I ever micromanage anybody. It was, okay, folks, here's what the state says we have to do. And we've mapped everything out. We've written our curriculum. Day one, you teach this day two, you teach that and I'll go get them. I don't care how you teach them. In fact, I used to tell teachers, if you're swinging from the chandeliers and throwing tomatoes, and somehow you're able to teach it and the kids learn, great. I'll give you a pat on the back. And we'll go smiling out the door with the high test scores. But yeah, so I didn't care what their methods were. Obviously, they had to be, you know, legal and aboveboard? Well, yeah. But beyond that, it's do what you need to do. But here's what you have to teach. And here's what they have to learn by this date. Okay, so then it's the cyber number. Gosh, back in the late 90s, when I was on Mount tree, we had an awesome principal. And he like you, he'd show up at least once a week, because it was a bigger school, it was hard for him to hit all the classrooms. But one of the teachers felt it was important for us to know how to write checks. But that wasn't a part of the curriculum for the week. But it was one of those ones, the principal realized it, he's like, okay, but just make sure they do good on whatever I was young. So it's like, I didn't understand what he's talking about. Yeah. Yeah, that that's one of those I've always admired the teachers who they're not crossing the principal, but it's like the, they do need to notice skill kind of thing. Yeah, and every teacher brings something unique to the table that they can teach that nobody else can. Yeah. And so I didn't mind that as long as I get everything else in. And the really good teachers knew how to mix and match. Like, I get a little bit of this in. I get the curriculum, and I'll get some more of this in. And before you know it, you have a really well rounded group of kids in your classroom, because you're teaching them everything above and beyond what the state says to teach. And those are the great teachers. Oh, they are. They're the ones that also pay a lot more money than most what to for to educate the kids. Oh, yeah, you'd be surprised how much money teachers spend out of their own pocket to make sure they have the right supplies. Now, when I was at all of our schools, we always had, I made sure I put enough money aside, to help the teachers buy whatever they needed for the kids. In fact, I made it quite clear, you tell me what you need. And if it can be justified, as a curriculum need to enhance the learning, I'll make sure we get it. Now, if you want a new desk or a new chair or some new carpeting, I can't guarantee that because that's not going to help the kids learn it'd be more comfortable look nicer. But But I can't guarantee that'll help learning and I won't be able to sell it to the board. But But beyond that, a lot of teachers spend a lot of money anyway because they want even more for their students. And that's great. Right? And it's one of those, I I always thought it was just a California thing. But I realized now it's just teachers in general that they do is they pay a lot and they're paid almost what like near to minimum wage or whenever that would be? Well, it every state is different. to Michigan, they're starting at around 40 to $50,000 for first year teacher, so that's about 20 bucks an hour. Yeah, I hadn't even figured it out. Yeah, that's probably about right. And then some of the higher paying districts you're making over $100,000 Jesus as a teacher, if you have your master's degree and you have at least 1520 years of seniority. Okay, well then yes. Like the your grandfather did. Nevermind. Yeah, right. Yeah, you don't start off making that that's Jose if that's the case, I am totally wrong and moving on state now. That's right. In most states, most states are like that. You They have salary increments. So whatever you make the first year, you do make more than next year and you do make more the third year. And that's irrespective of your evaluations, you're just going to make more every single year, which I never liked. That's a system that existed before I got involved in education. Right? But I want it okay, if you're doing a great job, we'll pay you more. If you're doing a terrible job, we'll pay you less, or we'll just send you packing. But it's hard to do that. It is a guarantee these raises because they had been negotiated by the school board and their union and say, I have nothing against unions, but at times they to ask for a lot of money for something, guys, they also they are indirectly running a business, you can't just pay him like 200 K a year kind of thing. Most teachers don't know this. And I didn't know until I became a principal. But let's say you're paying a teacher $70,000. Right teacher thinks I'm costing the district 70 grand, well, that's not true. We had to pay another 35 grand for their fica for their health insurance and some other, you know, benefits. Right? So a $70,000 teacher really cost us 105. They didn't know that, nor did they care, but we had to be aware of but we couldn't just pay them whatever. Because this other 35 is going to be due by it's by law, we have to kind of thing. Yeah, yeah, definitely, either by law or by contract, depending on how it was worked out? Well, the contracts kind of like a lot, too, depending on how it's signed. Yeah, right. And you have that, you know, it's a binding legal agreement. And so you can't just say, we've agreed to pay you 70. But Doggone it, we're gonna pay a 50 instead, or you can't do that you have to pay them what you agreed to pay them. Right. And I think at times, at least the majority of masses, they understand that contracts, powerful, but they don't realize how powerful it can be. It's true. Both ways. It can be very, a very powerful tool both ways. And there are people who will try to get away with things like I know what's in the contract, but I'm not going to do it. And if they don't get caught, who cares? There are others who break the contract, not knowing it, like what do you mean, I can't do this? Well, it says on page 20, you can't do it. And then there are people like me as the principal's like, I want the kids to learn. I don't mind breaking the contract, if you don't mind breaking the contract. Right? We didn't do that very often. But you know, sometimes teachers would say I'd really it would be their idea. I'd really like to do this, but the contract says I can't. So well then tell your union president you're going to do it. Yeah. And I'll stay I'll stay out of it. You guys work it out. And almost always, it ended up being just fine. Because we want to support the teachers so they can help the kids and learn. So why wouldn't you do it? Right? Exactly. Yeah, like for me, I work at a grocery store. And I'm like a night shift janitor. And my my union says like, Oh, you can't pick up merchandise off the floor. It's like, but I have to clean and stuff. So my way you're not allowed to touch it. Well, I'm gonna do it anyway. Because in my way, yeah, yeah, exactly. What to sort of look nice. You have a level of pride in your work. And even though that wasn't your work to do, it's still if somebody walks through, like, oh, that guy over there. He's the janitor. He didn't pick it up. You know? Yeah, it just looks bad. Yeah, he does. And so there was a lady that trained me when I first started. All she did was she just yell and yell, but she wouldn't do anything. And it was just one of those. I jokingly because my father worked for a school district, he's locksmith. And so I knew the union mindset. I'm like, Wow, you are literally taking the union like, do nothing. charge them for everything. Way too literal. Yeah, that's right. And happens quite a bit. And I used to train people, students and teachers alike. If you see a piece of paper in the hallway, pick it up, just pick it up and throw it away. Yeah, At first, I thought I was crazy. That's not my job. That's the nighttime custodian. So Well, yeah, but he's not coming in for six more hours. So we're just gonna leave the paper there. And now hopefully, we won't have paper in the hallway, that was the other part of the training, don't throw stuff on the floor. If you drop something, pick it up. But if you didn't, and was, you know, School of 600 Kids moving about every hour, from class to class, things are gonna fall out of their books. And if I saw it, or somebody else to just pick it up, throw it away, no big deal. And so our schools are generally kept clean. In fact, sometimes the custodians would come in, it's like, well, there's not much for me to do. And I said, Well, that's good. That's good. That's a good sign. We can always find things for them to do you know, give me more time to wash the windows or wax the floor, whatever. But we don't have to waste your time picking up trash because we did it for you. So yeah, different way. Yeah, I'm sorry. But honestly, I know that feeling cuz sometimes I come in and it's just like, there's nothing to do. What do you want me to do? That's right. Nothing wrong with that. Right? Right. I had that one year, I had the speaking of custodians, and a guy who apparently before I got there, his mo was he would check in in the morning, and then just disappear for the day and God What What time was that? I think about eight o'clock, he'd come in at eight o'clock and by nine, he'd be gone. And he'd come back around three to throw the trash away. And then he'd go home at four. His hours, were eight to four. And so when I started, that was the new principal. He had been there. I went looking for him one day, sign up again. I can't find that guy. Where is he? And somebody said, Secretary, who was his friend said, Oh, I don't know. He had to go pick up some parts. We'll be back soon. Okay, great. So an hour later, I went looking for him. I couldn't find him like, what the heck. And so I went to talk to this guy on staff and I got the impression this other guy, he was my business manager. I thought he was a straight shooter. Turns out he was. And I said, Have you seen so and so he goes, Yeah, he goes, let me tell you what goes on around here. Because he's friends with all the school board members. And what he does is he leaves every day at five and he goes to the bar and shoots pool all day, and you know, Gamble's with his buddies and drinks and comes back and throws the trash away. So I said, and we pay him for this was, Oh, yeah, we pay him a pretty good salary. And he just never here. So I said, well, that has to end. And again, he's friends with all the school board members who have the ultimate authority to tell me to leave if they don't like what I'm doing. Right. So I called him in. And I didn't confront him on that, because I couldn't prove it. I'm going by one guy's word, but I just said, You know, I want to try to find you yesterday at 10 o'clock, and I couldn't find it. Oh, yeah, I had to get some parts. Okay. I couldn't find you at 11 o'clock, either. Yeah, yeah, I had to run out again. And then 12 o'clock was my lunch. And he had an excuse for every hour. Yeah. And I said, Okay, so I don't really care how you go about your job. So I'm gonna come up with a list of jobs that have to be done every day. And I'm going to give you 10 minutes to do this job and 15 to do that, and so on. And we'll see how that works out. So I put them on this plan, like, I don't know, eight o'clock to 815, clean the girls bathroom, a 15 830, clean the boys bathroom, and so on and so forth. And I kept them in the school, because every 10 or 15 minutes, he had something else to do. And before long, we had about the best looking school in the whole district because it was always being cleaned. Because he was always there while his other buddies, you know, we're off shooting pool and drinking and gambling. Right? You felt like came in and said, I don't like this plan. I don't want to do it anymore. So well, it's not really open for discussion. It's not an optional situation, we pay you to keep the school clean. And prior to last week, it wasn't being cleaned. Because I'm not even sure if you were in the building. And so that's how we ended up doing that. And we had clean windows, we had waxed floors, because he had time to do it. So yeah, different way to do things. But at the same time, we had kids and teachers pick up trash if they saw it on the floor to help them out. So everybody won. So I was what I was asking earlier is what year was that? That was about 10 years ago or so? Really? God I thought time I got thought time stuff like that was almost done by like to 2006 he would he would think so. But again, he was a close friends with each board member, including one I didn't know this till after I left the school, but one of them was his girlfriend. They were each married to other people, yet they were boyfriend and girlfriend, or whatever. Yeah. And so I was walking in on that not knowing it. You know, like, I go to the board say, Hey, I'm doing this with the maintenance guy. She's thinking you better not mess with my boyfriend. But she never said that, of course. Right? Or she gets in trouble too. Yeah. And she was a prominent member of the community. She really didn't want anything leaked out. So yeah, it's kind of walking on pins and needles didn't even know it. But we did have a clean school. So I guess everything worked out. Yeah, it was hard to argue when they say the results. Exactly. Exactly. Right. But it's all part of the you talked about entrepreneur or CEO. You know, I was responsible for the cleanliness of the building. Now I wouldn't know which chemicals to mix to wax the floor. But I could make sure the guy who did know what to mix actually makes it and got it done everyday. And if a visitor walked into a board member walk in, they'd see a clean school all the time and not have to come to my office to say hey, you know what the heck's going on schools a dirty mess. So things like that, you know, as a principal, you're responsible for everything. So, the one thing I've as a kid and even as adult as I'm learning now talking to people, how did you sleep? Would you sleep? Well? Are you up all night thinking about things that could go wrong? I slept extremely well. And I used to get up between four and five in the morning and workout at home. Okay, and then get dressed and be gone out of my house by 545 or six o'clock. And then I wouldn't get home till it depended on the on the day. Some days I could be home by five other days midnight. Nobody had meetings or special events. Right. And so I had no trouble sleeping because that, you know, I worked hard. I did a good job. I did an honest job. I didn't cheat anybody. And for years I it was a running joke. And it still is with my doctor. They take my blood pressure, you know, every time I go in, right? And they say wow, your blood pressure is kind of low and so I'd say like dangerously low, they said, Oh, no, it's low. Like you're just a guy sitting home relaxing, enjoying life. And they said, your school principal, I'm shooting this. Yeah. It's well, this doesn't make any sense. That was the technician. So the doctor came in first time, he goes, wow, you know, you're doing something right. Because your blood, your principal, but your blood pressure is great. So I said, Well, there you go. That's positive. You don't worry about stuff. You just take care of business and move on to the next day, would you say as a way of not in a bad term, but like you were coping with the stress as a type of meditation to? Well, not so much meditation. I mean, I'm a believer in Jesus. So I read the Bible and pray all the time, that absolutely does help out, I would say, on the note of that, I think prayer would be a type of meditation, but it's more of a verbal, if anything. Yeah, I mean, however we look at it, but you know, that was a big was and is a big part of my life. But beyond that, you people usually start stressing out when they start making mistakes. And when they do stuff they shouldn't do, because then they wonder if they're gonna get caught. Well, I never got involved in that. I worked hard every day. Not every day was perfect. But I figured, okay, here's what I did wrong today. I'll fix it by tomorrow, we'll be good to go. When you look at life, that way, it's much easier to sleep at night. Interesting, I'm gonna have to start adopting a mindset like that. Because there are nights I just, I can't sleep 100 safe. What do I do? But if I if I worked hard, it's like, Alright, I did. I did what I could today. Yeah, with the knowledge that you're going to do even more tomorrow. That's what I always did. Yeah, that's how I approached it. So you said you wrote a book? How many? And what did you read about? Every book I've written has to do with education, and the first, I think, five or about 20 years ago. And they're all based on curriculum very specific to teachers. They're not, it's not on the general market. It's just when I used to do conferences, or went out as a consultant, they would buy copies of my book, okay, how to teach reading better how to focus in on the lower end learners a little better stuff like that. The one that's out there right now, it's called a principles, family principles. That's 85 stories about my kids, kids I've dealt with parents I've dealt with and just a different way of looking at life in the goal is to work with kids to help to get them to grow up to be intelligent, and happy and healthy. But it takes work. And it takes time. And that's what all the stories are about. And some are very positive stories. Like if you do this, this will be great. And some of the stories are not so good. Because not every kid is great. Not every parent is great. But how can we take a bad situation and make it into a good situation? There are some stories in the book like that, too. Interesting. So would you say your key to success as a writer, a radio person and a principal is basically consistency, persistence, and patience. That's a lot of it, and also constantly paying attention to what you're doing. And I would recommend this for whatever field you're in. Always do your best but always be thinking like, how could I do a better job here? Even your job as a custodian? What do you do? Do you like wax? The wax, I always sweep, scrub. It's essentially like I used to be a janitor at a school. It's the same thing, just a store now. Okay, so if you lacked a particular aisle, when you look down that aisle, does every square inch of it shine? If so great. You've done a great job on that aisle. And if not, you'll start I would start thinking, Okay, how can I attack that I owe a little bit better tomorrow, because I want every square inch, I want people to almost go blind when they look at my aisles, because they did such a great job. Yeah. So you're always thinking of ways to improve and ways to get better and always also maintain the things that you are doing extremely well. Interesting. Okay. So you would also consider planning important within all that? Oh, very much so. And it's a little tougher to plan as a principal, because there are so many things that come at you that you're not expecting, like, you know, a parent will call you. But you can't plan for that. No, you know, 10 kids will get sent to the office for being in trouble. Can't really plan for that, because you can't predict the future. But certainly, you know, I could plan for a number of things in life like, okay, three months from today, we're gonna have our big math test. Well, I can plan that because I know what's coming. And we can put the parameters in place. So always thinking always planning and doing your best. And then when you falter a little bit, find a way to fix it, and make it even better the next time. So being adaptive with while planning is also key. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I don't want to give the impression that everything I've done in my career has been 100% perfect, because that's not the case. There have been mistakes made things that I didn't want to have happen happen, but I found a way to fix them. So they didn't happen a second time. And to me, that's one of the biggest keys to success. Yeah. It's it's just the concept of pivoting in the moment is way more valuable than people actually realize. Yeah, oh yeah. And the higher you go up the leadership chain, the more you have to be able to make really good and highly effective decisions in about a half a second. And that's how a lot of people get in trouble. They need to make a decision right now. And they make a decision and it's a bad one, or they freeze and don't make a decision at all, that's even worse. And so you have to be able to take that whole tool kit you've built up over the years of making mistakes improving. And so when it comes to that one nanosecond, where you need to make a good decision, you'll have all of that in your, in your brain and within your body to make the right decision. it up. By way of example, I had a situation. In Michigan, it's probably the same in every state, you have to have X number of fire drills per year. Okay, yeah, that's, I think, at least for California, that's the same too. Yeah. And the goal is, I know, when I was a kid, it was a big joke, you know, they'd ring the fire alarm, you'd go out, run down the hall, make a bunch of jokes. I said, even as a kid, I was like, well, this isn't practice for anything. If it were a real fire, I would hope people wouldn't act this way. So when I became a principal, I trained everybody, it's a very serious deal. Because if it's a real fire, and you're running like fools down the hallway, you're gonna fall and get knocked over and maybe get lost in the fire. Right? So we took it very seriously. You know, we got people trained, got the staff trained, got students train, we've practiced, we practiced before the actual practice. And if it wasn't good enough, we do it again, kind of what I was saying before, not good enough, when you improve on this, and let's do it again. And we do it until we got it exactly right. You know, you walk single file down the hallway, you don't laugh, you don't talk to anybody. Because if if an adult needs to yell over the crowd, they need to be heard. Right. And so nobody's talking on the way out. And when we get outside, we go, you know, X number of feet away from the building to be safe. And we went through all that. Well, one day, similar to a fire situation, I was walking down the hallway, in the middle of class, everybody was in a classroom, except for me. in the hallway, I could smell gas, I thought, oh, shoot a gas leak. And I thought to myself, okay, so do I evacuate the whole school? Or do I just let this ride out and hope it's just a small thing. And I realized in about a half a second, I got to get everybody out of here. Because if the school if I don't do anything in their school blows up in five minutes, they're gonna ask me, Well, did you smell any gas? Well, yeah, I did. I chose to make a non decision. And so I evacuated the school and, you know, rang the bell, or whatever, we did pull the alarm. And everybody went out. And the director of security after it was all over, came flying over and said, who in the blankety blank pulled the alarm? And so I did. And she said, Well, you know, that's my job to do that. And I said, I didn't have time to, they would have taken about another 30 seconds to get ahold of her. I didn't have I didn't have 30 seconds to kill, my decision had to be made right then. Because if the school is gonna blow up, we've got to get him out of here. Right? And she understood that and we got through it, okay, but it's decisions like that. So what do you do if you're their principal, and you're walking down the hall and you smell gas? You just say, well, it's just one of those things. Not a big deal of schools hardly ever blow up because of gas leaks. And just gamble and play the odds? If you do, you'll probably be okay. But what if you're not? What if it does blow up and people get killed? Because you as the leader didn't do anything? Yeah, go an effective leader has to make those decisions very quickly. And they have to be good and effective decisions? They do. It's truly a life or death situation. Even if the odds are small. You should take it very serious. Oh, yeah. Yeah. So I'm assuming with all the different careers you had, there's some crazy story. Is there any crazy stories for any of the three paths, you've just mentioned the book writing preview principle. But the higher the higher, you go up the ladder, the crazier the stories can get? I bet you're you're exposed to more things than the one that came to my mind. And there are several, I could probably give you hundreds and just be here till midnight, giving you wild stories that you wouldn't believe I would be awesome. is what I had a female student in school. And her mother came to see me really angry, really angry. Okay, so this particular boy in school, who was kind of a lower end student, we knew he drank and did drugs and just wasn't a great member of the community. Right? He said, he grabbed my daughter and in the private area, okay. So I said, well, that's that's bad news. She goes, and she's yelling, and she's just out of control. And you got to do something about this. Throw him out of school. I said, you know, Mrs. So and So I said, I have to investigate. I can't just walk down the hall and throw the kid out. Because you said he grabbed her. You didn't see this, right? Because no, I was, you know, at work. I said, right. So I have to find eyewitnesses. I'll talk to you Your daughter, I'll get the whole story. And I'll see if anybody else was there. She's Well, I can tell you who was there as Lester kids. Okay, great. That's more information. So I talked to your daughter, I'll talk to those 10 kids, and we'll go from there. And so I talked to the daughter, and she said the same thing the mother did. Yeah, you know, we were standing around in a circle. And he reached from behind me to the front and grab me. Okay. So I started talking to the kids in the area. And they looked at me like, I was crazy. What? Now he wasn't even there. I said, Well, he must have been there because the mother came in screaming, right? And they said, No, I'm telling you, he just wasn't there. And a couple other kids. Yeah, he was there. But he was like, you know, six, seven feet away from anybody who wasn't even part of our 10 person circle. So this went on for quite a while I checked with everybody. And the bottom line is, I couldn't find any proof or evidence that this kid did anything. And again, he was not a kid who was unlikely. So he would have been turned in very quickly by these kids. If he had done anything. Right. They didn't turn him in because they didn't he didn't do anything. He wasn't even there. Or he was far enough away. Nothing happened. And so I called the mother and I said, Well, you know, I've done the investigation. She goes good. Is he done for the rest of the year? how long you're suspending him? as well, we're not going to suspend them. Oh, God blew a gasket. And said he has to because he grabbed my kid. I said, but only your kid is saying that. I said she might be telling the truth. I actually hope she is. But I can't throw a kid out. Because your daughter said yes. And he's saying no. And nobody else is saying yes. Right. Just like I wouldn't throw your daughter out if somebody made an accusation I couldn't prove. And she said, Well, my, my husband is six foot four. And he's gonna come in here and have a talk with you. Like, whatever. I don't care if he's 10 feet tall. I'm the principal. That's the way it's gonna go. I didn't tell her that. Right. Well, yeah, there's certain things your head you just say you don't you don't tell them. So they came in, we set up a meeting in very calm at the beginning. And he said, you know, so what? Can you tell me what's going on here? So I went through the whole situation. And he goes, good. So how long has he suspended? I said, Well, he's not. And he slammed my table. We were sitting at a table together, he slammed the table. So how can you? No one on this side, okay, go ahead and yell, it doesn't really matter. And I learned over the years to when people start yelling like that, let them yell until they're out of words, because then the least to get it out of their system. Yeah. And so I, you know, went through the whole thing, again, we can't find any evidence, no eyewitnesses, no proof, so on and so forth. And so I'm gonna get you fired. This is ridiculous. spent about two or three hours with these people. And by the time we were, we were done, there was shaking my hand, hugging me thanking me. And out they went, and they became two really big supporters of mine. Now that you talk about a turnaround they went from, we're gonna get you fired to, you know, you're actually a pretty good principle, because you did the right thing here. There is no evidence, he grabbed my kid other than my kids saying so. And so that's just one of those wild things. If you haven't been around for a while, if you haven't dealt with people, or know how to deal with explosive people. That could have gotten nasty real soon. Yeah, we could have been in a fight. No physical fight, police could have been cold. And newspapers are cold. Yeah, but just one of those wild things like, you know, I didn't go to college to learn how to do this. No, not there is no school for that. I went to college to learn how to teach and make learning better for kids. But that's just one of those wild ones. Again, one of several 100 that just came out of nowhere, you know, just minding my own business one day, suddenly, this mother pops in yelling, and then we're off to the races, but got it all solved. So what would be your tip for handling criticism like that? Just like the almost mob mentality, criticism just destroying you? Well, you know, first up, I would, if you're in a leadership position, I would say just go ahead and let them talk. They've already thought this through and I'm gonna go in there and give them a piece of my mind. Okay, come on, and give me a peace of mind. And keep in mind that they might be right. When they cry and yelling, and they're out to get you they might actually be correct. And too often people get their backup like it never happened to my school. Well, maybe it did. So you better not say that until you've investigated it. Right? That would be the first thing and then when you when you get to the end, and you produce all the all the evidence that you have, most reasonable people are going to see it your way. If you're straightforward if you're honest. And if you present all the evidence that you've collected. Now they come through and say, Well, wait a minute, like that same story. I told you a minute ago. You talked to 10 kids, but I found two more that saw it. Okay, let's hold on. Let's all those two in as well. Right. A lot of people a lot of people say no, forget it. I talked to 10 kids, he didn't grab your kid case, case closed. Well, now you're off to the races again. Okay, they found two more, let's have them in and we'll go from there. So just let, you can't. If you're in a leadership, you're going to be criticized. No matter what you do. If I order textbook a half the people are going to be mad if I order a text B textbook B the other people are gonna have to go To be mad, so and if you order see everyone's mad. You do you have to do the right thing for the kids every single time and then nobody can really criticize you and get away with it. They can still shoot their mouth off. But right, but all it is is just air. There's no there's no backing to it. Yeah, right. I had a guy, parent, he had a daughter in high school, and I had never met him before. And I sent a fairly lengthy email to the parents every Sunday night. So they would have it either Sunday night or Monday morning when they woke up. Oh, that's nice. Yeah, after about a year of this, he called me and said, I missed her so and so my daughter's Okay, great. I'd like to come in and talk to you for a few minutes. Well, that's to me. That's never good. No, God. No. That sure you know what's up? Because I just some things I want to pass along that I think you might appreciate. Well, okay, that sounds better. So we came in, we set up an appointment, he came in he goes, I really just wanted to meet you, because I've seen you. I've heard you speak before. I've seen you on stage at assemblies, because but I wanted to meet you and try to figure you out a little more. He said, because it's very clear that you give a darn and that you care about the school as well. Thank you. I said, I'm not sure how you know that though, since we haven't met. And he said, it's because the emails you send every Sunday night, because that must take you three or four hours. There's how many principals stay up three or four hours on a Sunday night when they have their own kids at home. And we'll do that for their school. And so he said, so I know you care. And I'm glad my daughter is in the school with you. So you get those two, you don't get as many as the ones who complain, but you get the good ones, too. Yeah, those are the ones are always worth it to. Oh, yeah. I was 20 years ago, and I'm still telling that story to you about that. Yeah. Yeah, it's, it's one of those as I've been just, I've been reading the book Thinking Fast and Slow. Have you heard of it? Yeah, I have not read it. But my doctor recommended that to me a few years ago. Oh, it's really good. So it's about how he calls it system one and system two. system. one's very emotional, like the first person that was yelling, system two is very logical. It's like let them explain themselves and explain myself later on kind of thing. So it's essentially just explaining how, when you think of emotions, it's very destructive. But the person who thinks logically can also use not in a bad way, but use their emotions to help benefit both. Okay, it's a really good book, I'm only like, 10 chapters in and there's like, 30 of them. So it's, it's a really good read. Yeah, yeah, I had heard about that from from my doctor a few years ago. And I just haven't gotten around to reading it. But, you know, back to that one story, though, when the mother came in screaming, and then the dad, six foot four came in screaming, Mm hmm. It would have been really easy for me out of the gate to say, you know what, your daughter made this complaint, I'm going to suspend that kid for two weeks, right? Because I knew that boy's mother wouldn't give a darn. I knew her well enough. And, again, the kid was just kind of, you know, had a rough start to life. And he was into things he shouldn't have been. And the mother was about done with him. So if I would have called up and said, You know, I got to suspend your son for two weeks, you've said, Okay, all right, thanks for the call. And that would have been it, I would have suffered no stress whatsoever, I would have had nobody yelling at me. And I would have been the hero because I suspended this kid. Except it would have been the wrong thing to do. And I wouldn't have been able to live with that. But there are people who will do that don't take the easy road or the political road, you know, how can I win this politically, that's what I'll do. Well, that's not the way to be a principal, you're supposed to do what's best for the kids. And in doing that, you never know it could have caused like a like the butterfly effect in time where this one event that you spared him, he became a very successful business person or got a very good paying job now. But that one event, if you did it, he could keep or get worse down the degenerate path and be homeless and on the street, because of that one event. Very much. So he already had, you know, obviously, and low self esteem. And that would just would have made him feel even worse, like, okay, now I didn't do anything and I get suspended. You know, this is getting really bad. And I just given up. Yeah, and he could have been thinking like, already people don't like me, like, I don't feel like I should be here. Maybe I should leave. And then that this one event would have been love. Yep. People don't like me. There's no reason to be here anymore. There's no reason to try and life. You hit it right on the head. You sound like you're ready to be a school principal already. Thank you. That's right. It is how it works. And it's not easy. You know, it wasn't easy to sit there and be screamed at. Of course, I could have thrown them out to you know, I had other other options I did. Didn't have to sit there and take it. I chose to because I wanted them to get all of their anger out so we weren't dealing with it six months later. I look at it as war you have. You have a certain amount of bullets go ahead and shoot them all. Shoot every bullet you have. So you can't shoot me six months down the road. And yeah, so put up with that and made the right decision for the kids and life moved on. And there was never another issue. Never another issue with that girl. never an issue with that boy. And those two parents of the girl became two of my biggest supporters. They are that's, that's a super inspirational story in and of itself. So my thing I like to ask when I'm trying to send off people is what do you do currently that you weren't doing before at the COVID? lockdowns? Well, some of the consulting that I was doing before, and I still do a little bit of it. And but with schools being out, you know, I've not been recruiting any new clients, because they're not in school. The teachers aren't there. The kids aren't there. Right. And I thought, you know, we could do some of that by zoom. But if you're not, I don't want to get into that. Because that's, I'm used to the face to face personal contact. There's something about that, that is way more impactful. Yeah. And especially in education, it's all about the personal contact. Yeah. So that would be it. I was already writing and working on music and doing the radio show, so I can continue to do all of that even with the COVID. lockdown. So it really it was other than the going and traveling there really didn't like bother you didn't take up new skills kind of thing. Nope, nope, not this time. No, not at all. I thought about various things. But I was already very, very busy with what I've been doing. So Mike's been pretty good for me. I'm one of the lucky ones. Yeah, that is very lucky. You know, I'd like to cut it there, Paul, anything you want to plug your radio books, etc? Yeah, if you go to Amazon, check out the book of principles, family principles, or tune in to my radio show. Dr. Paul's family talk. It's on impact radio. easy to find on the internet's a station, but we do live shows and then we put them on a podcast page. You can get all that to the website impact Radio Okay, then I'll talk to you later on matchmaker to get the links for that. So I can put it in description. Okay, excellent. Thank you. Awesome. All right. Thank you, Paul. I appreciate you coming on. And I appreciate you. All right. Same to you, Josh. Thank you very much. Talk to you soon. Talk to you soon. Bye.

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Interview with Sarah Andrew

Welcome to the Josh Bolton show. Interesting and inspiring conversations. And now your host, Josh Bolton. Are you worried about the virus? Or is it something Hey, it's falling on and, you know, it'll

Interview with Eric Almeida

So, would you Is there anything in particular you want to talk about? kind of thing? Um, we got up, we can go with it a lot of different options, depending where you want to go. Okay, um, if, because

Interview with Allison Jackson

Hello, are you doing today? Hi, I'm good. How are you doing pretty good. How are you? How's your fine Sunday going? It is good. It's snowy. So we are. Where are you at now? I'm in New Jersey. Oh, that