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Monday, June 4, 2012

Learning to Teach While Teaching: Hard Work

Good day fine folks - 

Now is time for part two of our Learning to Teach While Teaching Series:

Today's subject --> HARD WORK

We’re all in agreement that our generation (Generation X) has worked hard to give our children (Millennials) all the things we didn’t have – to provide those experiences and opportunities that we believe will be valuable to them later in life. We all work our hardest to make sure our children have the very best of everything. We spare no expense, we call in favors and if need be… would swim a gasoline ocean with a lit blow touch in our mouths for our children’s sake. With our aggressive nature and over-achieving attitude, we open doors and create paths for our children to walk and in some cases we seem to care more about their success than they do

Have we gone too far? Have we done too much? Have we created a generation of young people who feel they have a “right of entitlement?” Have we unintentionally crippled the hard work gene from the lives of our young people?

I mean, let’s be realistic. Our children are more technologically savvy than we were at their age, they’ve experienced much more than we did at their age (partly due to our efforts) and they have a huge convenience factor that most of us didn’t enjoy until the mid-nineties. Remember popping popcorn? Remember what a big deal it was to have “popcorn night?” Remember that big ol’ pot and putting the oil in it with the kernels and waiting anxiously for the popcorn to lift the lid off? Hmmmm… today it’s just a flat bag and the push of a button and….taaah-daaah! Instant popcorn!

Yeah… yeah I know everybody has their own idea of what hard work should be. We’ve all heard the quotes before, right?

“No pain… no gain”

“Work works” 

“There’s no traffic jam along the extra mile”

“No one has ever drowned in a pool of sweat”

Blah-blah, blah-blah, blah-blah…

Does this mean that I have to subject myself to physical pain in order to work hard? Is that the only way? Is there a way for us to instill hard work in the value system of our young people?

Oh no! What to do?  “The sky is falling!” “The sky is falling!”

I submit to you my friends that sport is a way to subconsciously re-invent the wheel. Struggle, passion, commitment, selflessness are but some of the many ingredients required for success. Sport is a way to help us re-instill hard work as a part of the normal regime in the lives of our otherwise unencumbered young people.

Enter the importance of a good coach… not just a coach who’s good with X’s and O’s or who’s all about wins and losses, but a coach who understands the importance of coaching for character and building young people as human beings. Young people need a coach who won’t sacrifice character development for athletic prowess… a coach who actually cares about them – not just his/her legacy.

At the end of the day, life is challenging. Hard work is just a part of what we’ve come to know intimately as “the daily grind.” Not working hard in the physical sense, but working effectively with others, having the discipline and focus to keep it all together and somewhere in that microcosm of life finding the patience to be a person for others. Our young people need to know this… they need to be taught this… they need to understand this… the need to embrace this…

Yes, hard work isn’t always fun and it definitely isn’t the coolest thing to do, but it is necessary…VERY necessary.

Cheers -

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