Zander Approach. Should Parents Punish Their Children Essay Example

In this excerpt, Ben Zander recounts an experience with the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic in Sao Paolo, Brazil. It was their first immense concert, the theater house was entirely filled. The orchestra gave a magnificent performance and were overjoyed from the response of the cheering audience. They returned to the hotel to get rest for the concert the next day. Unfortunately, in the morning Zander got an angry letter from a guest about the noisy, disruptive, teenage musicians. The chaperones wanted the kids to be reprimanded because they broke a contract. Zander contacted his wife for advice. Obviously, breaking a contract should result in disciplinary actions. Though, Zander thought about how the teenagers felt and why they acted the way they did. He brought the orchestra together to talk about the situation. The kids were shocked when Zander started off the conversation talking about a woman who told him how the concert had been the most beautiful two hours of her life. He then asked the question, “what else did you come here to offer the Brazilian people?” The kids answered with how they wanted to share their talents and music to the world. Zander understood their high spirits after the concert the previous night. If it was a horrible concert, they would’ve gone to bed, but they were excited and celebrated instead. Zander tells them they got off track, but now they can get back on the track. The choir understood what Zander told them and even wrote apologies to the guests they disturbed. He didn’t have to punish anyone, only let them know what they did wrong and let them learn from their mistakes.

This excerpt introduces a new way of reprimanding teenagers. I thoroughly enjoyed this reading because it gives an example of why a teenager acts the way they do. Kids should be serious at moments, especially in performances and other events. Though, they deserve to “let loose” and enjoy their successes, not have to live and move on. Zander understands how thrilled the kids were, they had just given a stunning performance. It is usual for a teenager, or even an adult, to be this excited about a successful event. Zander doesn’t excuse their misbehavior, but let’s the teens realize their wrong doings. By using this method, Zander made sure to give a solution to make both parties happy. Next time the choir has a magnificent performance, the kids may think of a quieter and less disruptive way of celebrating so everyone benefits.

If parents, teachers, and other adults used Zander’s technique, they would be more successful with getting teenagers to listen to them. Personally, I dislike being punished for my mistakes, along with many other kids my age. When I am punished for my mistake, I tend to continue to make the same mistake. Also, many kids my age don’t listen to adults when they are being lectured or yelled at. Instead, when the adult understands and looks at the situation from my perspective, I can respect their confrontation and learn from my mistake. As teenagers, it’s important we learn from our daily actions, whether those are mistakes or not. Adults have the role of teaching and influencing us. Adults and teachers need to tell us when we are doing something dishonest, but in a profitable style. Adults can expect different results if they take a different approach, for example, Zander’s approach.

Overall, I think everyone of all ages can learn something from this passage. It certainly taught me that I should be more respectful in moments where I usually only think about myself.

Adults can learn how to discipline a kid positively when they make a mistake. L.R. Knost says, “discipline is helping a child solve a problem. Punishment is making a child suffer for having a problem. To raise problem solvers, focus on solutions not retribution”. The chaperones wanted to punish the children for their mistake. Zander instead disciplined the kids and helped guide them the correct way. I feel as if everyone followed this example, less kids would continue to make the same mistake and more would learn from them.


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