NY Times and the Refrigerator Rules

There was a very long  piece in the NY Times that attends to the question/s of:

“what makes a student successful?”


“how does a student become a successful adult?”

  “Character vs. IQ vs. Identity vs. Motivation/Determination vs. . . .”–well, you get the idea.

Before I go further, here’s the link to this 9 page piece:


Children watch and learn.  Children experience and learn.  Children practice and learn.  So, very calmly I will repeat:  Please refer to the Refrigerator Rules (the 4-R’s) for instilling Integrity and Truthfulness into a child’s framework of relationship with self and others:






When I placed the Refrigerator Rules in Pages, I simplified them to reflect a child’s understanding and developmental capabilities.  Thus they read:

Refrigerator Rules

As soon as you have a child reach the age of about THREE, please feel free to cut and paste,  ENLARGE and Print—and then FRAME—on the Refrigerator Door:





  When your child reaches about the age of five, you may add:


A child understands quite early about being respectful, responsible and being nice/Reciprocal.  As they age, they become adept at solving their own problems, if we let them, encourage them, promote their resourceful capabilities.

As role models, always on Shakespeare’s Stage–we also need to adhere to the Refrigerator Rules. Young eyes are watching.  Young hearts are feeling.  Young spirits are learning.

Our actions speak volumes about our own Integrity.  Can we challenge ourselves to always be truthful, except for when that brings harm to an innocent?  Can we model respect for others, especially those who hold opposite view points?  Do we show our problem-solving steps for our own problems?  Do we take responsibility for our own misunderstandings?  (Especially when we have misunderstood our own child?)

The building of our child’s character seems to be a combination of role modeling, expectation and experiential—practiced every day with the joyfulness of living a life with honor.   Perhaps the measuring of “Successful” can be the ability to achieve an honorable life.   I hope so.  For all of us.

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