Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Exeter-Milligan Update: View from the Front Office

During the Christmas break, we again traveled to Phoenix to visit Karla’s family.  This is an annual trip and I do look forward to spending time with the in-laws.  We had the opportunity to see the new great-niece (only 3 weeks old) and also spend some time with our teenage nieces.  Teenagers – what a tough group.  It appears that spending time with Uncle Paul and Aunt Karla isn’t as cool as it used to be.  Maybe next year I can spice it up a bit or just embarrass them a little more while out in public together.
While digging through an old box, I found an article I had saved from the Arizona Republic titled “A player’s resolutions for Coach.”  The author, Tom Kuyper, wrote a letter to his coach, but from a kindergartner’s perspective. The letter was a New Year’s list of things for the coach to understand.  In it, he tried to impress that as kids, they just want to play.  Winning and losing didn’t matter as long as they got to play and be with their friends.  Please don’t bench “us” when we make mistakes or when we missed practice – they wanted to make it but mom and dad made them go to the class play instead.  This article made me think and wonder if we are sending the right message to our kids?  Are we stressing the importance of winning instead of teamwork and improvement?  Are we making the smart choices as coaches, sponsors, and parents?  Are we providing a positive example for others to follow?
Kids are not always going to make the smartest choices.  But as adults, we need to guide them along the way and help provide them the opportunities to learn and make informed choices.  In a recent leadership workshop I attended, the idea of developing a purposeful community was discussed.  To develop this purposeful community, everyone must work together and make informed choices.  Not all choices should be made for the children (students) because this could lead to “learned helplessness.” If a student does not experience success or failure, they learn to be helpless and that nothing they do matters anyway.  We, as a community, need to provide opportunities for our students to make these smart choices and also to provide positive examples for them to emulate. 
Everyone makes mistakes – but if we learn from our mistakes, then we become winners in the end.  As a purposeful community, we need to provide opportunities for our students and show them the right thing to do.  Some of the smartest people can make the stupidest mistakes – but we must learn from them and move on. 
Are we making smart choices?  Are we providing an opportunity for someone to learn?  Are we providing a positive example for others to emulate?  Are we building a purposeful community? The choices we make today have a direct impact on the future – on ourselves and on others.  We must be intentional in what we do and flexible enough to realize that sometimes we need to revisit and refocus. We all must experience failure in order to enjoy the taste of success.  Through these learning opportunities we build character and define who and what we are.
Thought for the month:
As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we've been given. - Mary Lou Retton

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