Our friend Ira Chaleff, author of Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When What You’re Told to Do is Wrong, has just released Blink, Think, Choice, Voice: a Handbook for Parents and other Caregivers. Watch for our review shortly; in the meantime, he has published this piece to announce the book. In his own words:

Even at a very young age, children learn simple self-protection sequences like “Stop, Drop and Roll” if their clothes catch fire. They are taught “Run, Hide, Fight” as a sequence of choices in the event of an active shooter incident. We all know “If you see something, say something” to pre-empt acts of terror.

To these we need to add: Blink, Think, Choice, Voice. What does this mean?

Regular visitors to this site will already know about Chaleff’s groundbreaking work in Intelligent Disobedience, and his easy mnemonic phrase for children: “Blink, Think, Choice, Voice.” When a child who has been taught this phrase is told by an adult to do something wrong, the child will know to take the time to blink, then think about what they are being told to do, make a choice, and give themselves permission to voice their opinion on what is going on (or sometimes, in the case of a child too scared or shy to say anything, move away from the danger).

Chaleff points out that the last line of defense between children and their predators is often the children themselves; if we teach our children to disobey intelligently when something they are told doesn’t make sense, they are much more likely to speak up – and stop the predatory behavior before it starts.

Our own Spike Robinson has written a song to go along with Chaleff’s phrase, the better to help children remember the steps, and to empower them to use this valuable skill.


We hope that soon this useful phrase will help children everywhere resist abuse.

What do you think about this article? Do you agree? Have you read Ira Chaleff’s book? Do you have a story about intelligent disobedience that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!