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Take Your Medicine

My Dad is typical of many Dads – like me – in that he’s got a proverb, metaphor or story to back up almost every point he makes.

His favourite has always been, “Adam, you’re just going to have to take your medicine on this one.”

What Dad was speaking to me about was that life isn’t always fair, and sometimes you don’t completely win or completely lose.

Sometimes, it’s not your fault, and you wear some consequences anyway.

Sometimes, it is your fault and you can spend hours lying and sidestepping a consequence or you can just suck it up and bear the consequence now.

After years of medicine taking, I’ve noticed that Dad rarely spoke about medicine or consequences punitively.

Dad wanted me to take the medicine of knowing that I’d:

  • Upset my Mum.
  • Frightened my sister.
  • Disappointed my coach.
  • Made life harder for my teacher.

Swallowing that my conduct had negatively affected people that matter to me and being held accountable for fixing that up was a bitter pill. It’s why taking your medicine is hard but also so important to everybody’s health.

Never let a student think they’ve “taken their medicine” through something as easy to swallow as a detention or a lecture.

They’ve still got work to do. It’ll be good for them too.

The right medicine can cure even the patients most deficient in vitamins: empathy, consideration, kindness, honesty and conscience.

Keep fighting that good fight,


PS. I’m running a three-part Leading Whole School Behaviour Improvement webinar series. Hear about it here,

Register here for 12 October – Webinar 1: How’d we get here?

Register here for 16 November – Webinar 2: Who are these people?

Register here for 5 December – Webinar 3: So what? Now what?



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