By Thayne Johnson, Activities Director
There has been a lot of attention lately given to the behavior of adults who are in attendance at their child’s sporting events. We spend so much time educating our kids on how we want them to behave, we may lose sight of how our behavior can sometimes impact them.
In the Hutchinson School District, we educate our kids on what it looks like, sounds like, and means to be a TIGER. Using those same five characteristics of Tenacity, Integrity, Gratitude, Effort, and Respect, how can we as adults be a TIGER in the stands and on the sidelines?
Tenacity – Our students learn that tenacity means not giving up, even when things are stacked against them. This can hold true in the classroom, in athletics, and in fine arts activities. As parents, how can we support tenacity? Has there been a time when you had to persevere in your own life? Perhaps sharing that story with your child when they come home frustrated after a practice is just what they need to overcome their self-doubt. By sharing your story of determination, you have just reinforced our first characteristic.
Integrity – For our students, integrity means playing the game with honesty. Earlier this fall, I received an email from a parent from another school that applauded the integrity shown by some of our girls tennis players. Tennis is a game played with no officials, where the girls must make judgement calls on their own. In this case, our girls made a difficult call that gave a point to the other team. The parent of the opposing team, took time to recognize the honesty displayed by our players. As parents, we have the responsibility of teaching our children to act with integrity even when the decision we make may cost us.
Gratitude – We encourage our students to thank their teammates, coaches, and school staff on a daily basis. Every day, we are fortunate enough to cross paths with a multitude of people who impact our lives in a variety of ways. It may be in the classroom or on the field, but it’s important for those people to know that we are thankful for them. It’s important that we also take time to reflect on what and who we are thankful for.
Effort – There is no question that good effort gets rewarded. The student who studies extra for a test, practices their solo one more time, or shoots those extra free throws, will see a positive result in the end. We need to display that same amount of effort in our daily responsibilities for our children to see that hard work truly does pay off.
Respect – This may be the most crucial aspect of being a TIGER, and it’s often the most difficult to display. In today’s world of “me-first” highlights, there is much credit given to those who disrespect their opponent. However, nothing will gain a student more worthwhile recognition than when they show respect to their adversary. A simple handshake or fistbump shows the other person that you appreciate them and that you can identify with what they are going through. As we go through our life, how can we show respect to those we meet and those we interact with on a daily basis? Although we may not always agree, it’s important that we respect each other.
In closing, I encourage you to continue to display the characteristics of being a TIGER so that we can be a good example for our students to follow.