Participation Teaches Us Lifelong Lessons

By Thayne Johnson, Activities Director

Through Hutchinson High School’s partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance, I’ve had the chance to read several outstanding articles from leaders in different fields. There has been one common theme across many of the articles that I’ve read this summer. That theme is, participation in activities teach our kids lessons that will last well beyond their time on the court, field, or stage.

One of the lessons that being involved in activities can teach us is that it’s OK to make mistakes. Often times, it’s the mistake itself that takes up our physical and emotional energy. For students, they get wrapped up in how one mistake might have cost their team the game or affected a group performance. Instead, what we should be focusing on is the “Big Picture.” What can we learn from that mistake and how is it going to make us better?  Adopting this “Big Picture” mentality will help our students develop a mindset in which they focus more on their effort and progress and use that to develop more self confidence.

Think about the conversations that we have with our kids and how we can frame those conversations to draw out the very best in our students. One small thing we can do is add the word “yet” to our conversation. This one little word implies that learning and mastery is a process. Whether it’s in athletics or fine arts, we are never done growing and learning. Think about how powerful it is to say, “I haven’t accomplished this, yet,” rather than saying “I’m never going to accomplish this.”

I’ve also had the chance to read the book Beyond Grit by Dr. Cindra Kamphoff. The “grit” that Dr. Kamphoff talks about is that long term goal that each of us have and the desire to pursue that goal, no matter what setbacks we might encounter. One of the most powerful things that Dr. Kamphoff talks about in her book is the concept of controlling the controllables. In our lives, there are things that we do not have control over, the “uncontrollables”.  In our students’ activities, those might be anything from field conditions and the calls of the umpires, to the performance space and the ratings of the judges. In the world of work, we cannot control things like the economy, clients, and changing technology. However, the things that are in our control are our attitude, preparation, and effort. Helping our students focus on these three essential pieces, rather than the things that are out of their control, is more likely to help them succeed and reach their ultimate goals.

Hutchinson Public Schools

Hutchinson Public Schools