(Location and names have been withheld, due to privacy of those involved)
I teach both the Relational and Technical skills of Mandt to new employees in my facility as well as recertifying existing employees. I enjoy teaching Mandt, especially the Relational chapters, because (like the Mandt organization) I also feel like they are the most important chapters we teach. It is my hope that if I do the best job possible with the Relational chapters, we won’t need to utilize the technical skills very often, thus providing a more Trauma Informed environment and reducing incidents of seclusion and restraint for the people we care for.
I had an experience teaching the Relational chapters that I will never forget. It is memorable because it showed me how teaching Mandt doesn’t only make a difference in the lives of clients and staff at work, but it can also make a tremendous difference in our student’s personal lives. I have come to know that we make a difference in people’s lives by teaching Mandt, even more than what we may be aware of.
In this particular class, there was a gentleman whose son has Autism. He did not disclose this information during class. He was attentive, passed the tests with flying colors, and treated everyone with dignity and respect. I had no thoughts about him after class, just another student who I hoped would utilize the Mandt philosophies at work.
Approximately 3-4 weeks after the class, that same gentleman came to visit me in my office. He told me he wanted to thank me and let me know that I had made a tremendous difference in his life and the lives of his family members, especially his little boy who was 4 years old. He told me his son was Autistic and that he and his wife had very different opinions on how to best help their son reach his full potential. This difference in opinion caused unrest in their marriage. He told me how he was raised with “an iron fist” and thought that because he “turned out okay”, that this was the best way to raise his special needs son. His wife however, was wanting to use a kinder, gentler approach which he was sure would not work. Needless to say, he was a practicing ‘punisher’, both verbally and physically. He explained that his son had been scared of him and avoided him whenever possible. Nothing he tried had helped his son with behavior issues. They did not have a relationship. Then he attended my Mandt class.
This gentleman went home after my class with the decision to do things differently. He talked to his wife and she was so happy and grateful that he attended the class and had heard in different words what she had been trying to explain to him. He started utilizing Relational Mandt and said his son responded to him almost immediately. He has quit using punishment and speaks to his son in a calm loving tone. The best feeling this father said he ever had in his life was the first time his son crawled up in his lap and put his little arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. He was too scared to do this with Dad in the past. Now he trusts his Dad.
This is what makes teaching Mandt worthwhile. By teaching the Relational chapters of Mandt I was able to make a difference in this family, the way a father treated his special needs son, the relationship that I know now will be healthy and fulfilling for them both, no more physical punishment for this little guy who didn’t understand why his father who was supposed to love him was hitting him, and the marriage that got better because the conflicts were addressed. This gentleman thanked me but it is the Mandt System that deserves the credit. All I have to do is believe it, live it, model it, and teach it. I am so grateful to have this opportunity.
Special thanks to the most wonderful Mandt Instructor trainer, Aaryce Hayes. I have stolen many stories from you (at your insistence!) and thought of you often. You have given me the tools to make a difference in so many lives.