H. Stephen Glenn

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H. Stephen Glenn was a brilliant, charismatic person who was dedicated to Developing Capable Young People by helping adults become more capable in their skills for working with children. At the end of this post, you’ll see a video sample from one of his DVD Series. I was one of those who attended his lectures and workshops and was mesmerized, entertained, and inspired. I was also pleased to learn that the concepts and methods he taught were so compatible with Positive Discipline.

Methods and Concepts

Eventually we became co-authors. It began in 1983 when I gave him a copy of my newly, self-published Positive Discipline. I know he didn’t read it at that time, and I can understand why. In fact, I’m surprised that anyone did. I didn’t know anything about self-publishing, and that first printing was very funny looking with a two-color cover that I designed (not one of my talents), and was printed by a local printer who managed to misspell discipline and put it upside down on the spine. Still the first printing of 2000 was sold in a year. So, by the time I attend Steve’s Developing Capable People workshop in 1985, I had a fairly decent version of Positive Discipline and gave him another copy.

During the workshop, we do a lot of group work. During that time, I kept noticing that Steve was reading Positive Discipline. At the end of the three day workshop he asked me if I would like to collaborate with him on writing a book that he could use as the text for his workshops. I said, “Sure". That is what I said, but this is what I thought. “I can’t write another book. I’m not really a writer. I could never do this.” I did not believe I was an “author” until three of the books I wrote (including the one I eventually wrote with H. Stephen Glenn) sold very well. So, the idea sat on a shelf for a while. Meanwhile, Steve started using Positive Discipline as the text for his workshops and keynotes he did all over the country. So, this self-published book started selling all over the country.

Steve got so busy that he subcontracted with Positive Discipline to handle his bookings. Eventually we had a full-time staff person for Steve. I kept printing Positive Discipline books and eventually it was picked up by Ballantine Books. It is now published all over the world in several languages.

Meanwhile, I decided to self-publish Serenity. Steve started selling this book also, and more orders poured into my office. I decided it was time to tackle the task of writing a book with Steve. What an adventure. It took me awhile to discover that Steve didn’t have time to write. He was excellent at speaking, and spent so much time on the road that he didn’t have time or energy left for writing. So I began the task of listening to his CDs and trying to capture his charm and brilliance in writing. This was not as easy task. When you listen to him speak, you will notice that his sentences are often three paragraphs long and may go in several different directions. Sounds great, but doesn’t read great. I’m very proud to say that I think I did a good job, but it was very time consuming. Steve kept promising that the book would be available in six weeks—and collected prepublication sales. Meanwhile, I’m listening to CDs and writing 16 hours a day trying to meet the deadline. I remember one time I asked him a question and turned on my tape recorder. He talked for two hours and I had another chapter.

Four month’s later; the self-published version of Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World was hot off the press. Steve now had another text to use with his Developing Capable People Course (he continued to use Positive Discipline). Two years and 40,000 copies later, we sold the rights to Prima (eventually purchased by Random House).

H. Stephen Glenn died in 2004. Fortunately we can still learn from Steve through his online course.