Posted prior to a discussion of: Training Styles, Methods and Goals Yikes…our next meeting is only a few days away. I have been so distracted of late that I had not posted my preliminary comments on the monthly topic a week in advance, as I like to do. My apologies. In approaching this month’s topic I worked my way back from my household goals to methodology and finally training style. GOALS: Since I regard my home, my household, as the center of positive energy in my life, the place that fulfills and “recharges me,” I have established the primary household goals as spiritual serenity and emotional security. Progress towards these goals are achieved within the framework of a well established sense of who holds and wields Authority (me), and who has voluntarily accepted obedience to my Authority (my slave). Where the framework is poorly constructed, or poorly adhered to, confusion creeps in, disrupting both serenity and security. METHOD: Achieving these primary goals is based on a common agreement to adhere to our chosen Household roles and to pursue these goals in a serious and on-going manner. The first step in this process was for me to express my needs in concrete, specific terms. Beyond that, I needed to present the slave with the specific way in which I wanted the needs fulfilled. As my understanding of my needs within my D/s Household grew and changed, it was incumbent upon me to communicate these changes clearly and precisely to my slave. Where I failed to do so, the framework was poorly constructed, and confusion and distress were the predictable outcomes. The slave’s first responsibility was to convey to me her skills and abilities upon entering my Household so we could determine the extent to which she could satisfy my original set of needs. In certain instances, the slave’s skill set matched my needs, in other areas the slave’s skill set needed to be expanded; finally there were areas where the slave’s skill set did not match specific needs. In this last instance, I eventually dropped the demand for the slave to fulfill those needs. Why? Painful experience taught me that to demand of the slave services that were clearly beyond the scope of her skills created stress in the slave; dissatisfaction on the part of the Master, and disrupted the serenity in the household. It also created emotional insecurity by putting unnecessary obstacles in the way of the fulfillment of our chosen and agreed upon roles. It taught me that my Authority was not based upon, or fulfilled by, the ability of the slave to satisfy one particular need or another, but rather upon her overall commitment to service to me. By providing tasks suited to her skills I opened the path for successful obedience. Successful obedience is a positive experience for a slave and prods the slave to greater efforts to be of use to the Household. This did not mean I needed to constrain the Household to the slave’s limits. There were clearly new skills the slave could master and her value to the Household could be increased. In those circumstances the tools (i.e. manuals, computer programs, outside tutors, etc.) and the time necessary to learn the new skills were made available. During initial training, and during the development of new skills, difficulties arose in many forms, including: poorly constructed communications, frustrations, fears and tears, occasional disobedience, etc. Based the stated goals for my household I eventually settled upon a process of gentle, gradual correction as the best method for training in my household. The primary form of this training consists of discussion, evaluation, and eventually, altered behavior. Obviously I view training as a long-term process. Of course a big factor allowing me to take such a view is that I and my slave have made a long-term commitment to our relationship. Training can therefore, be measured in years, not in weeks or months. Occasionally punishments are invoked, but seldom in the form of physical punishments as these seemed to create big dramatic moments which, while they might be fun are, once again, not moving the household towards greater serenity. (Besides, I like to keep the dramatic physical moments in the realm of play and pleasure rather than mixing them into the training arena.) STYLE: Consequently, the household training style that evolved was low-key, low drama which, I believe, results in a minimum of distress for Master and slave. The exercise of my Authority is generally in the form of persistent pressure guiding the slave into the desired behavior. Her willingness to change, and the gradual on-going changes in her behavior, is evidence of her willing obedience and acceptance of my Authority. I look forward to hearing from you regarding this topic, either here on the list, or at the meeting on Sunday.