With a new school year underway, I know that many students have set goals to make honour roll, to earn a spot on a sports team, or to receive an academic award or athletic award this year. These are worthy goals, and if you are determined to put in the grit and the stick-to-it-ness required to achieve these goals, know that your teachers and coaches are here to help you.
But the new school year resolution I want you to achieve has nothing to do with making honour roll. It has nothing to do with earning high marks. It has nothing to do with being selected most valuable player on a sports team. It has nothing to do with receiving an academic or an athletic award at the end of this school year.
The new school year resolution I want you to achieve this year will outlast any award or medal you will ever receive. It will remain with you for a lifetime. And unlike an award or medal, you will be able to carry this achievement with you wherever you go. Everyone will be able to see it.
This year, make your new school resolution to be better person.
Let’s start with a few examples.
Perhaps we sometimes get caught up in gossip or spread unkind stories about others – about our classmates or about our teachers – through word-of-mouth or through social media. Perhaps we are quick to judge others, critical of the way they act – for what they do or for what they don’t do. Through our unkind words, by our laughing at them, or even by ignoring them, we put them down. And let’s not kid ourselves into believing they don’t notice, because they do and it hurts.
Here’s another example: perhaps we give up easily, get frustrated when things don’t go our way, or when we don’t succeed the first or even the tenth time we try to do something. Perhaps we have a difficult time accepting and learning from our disappointments. We may have outgrown the temper tantrums we had when we were toddlers, but we still can’t handle not getting what we want, when we want it.
Have you ever noticed that those who can’t handle not getting what they want usually blame others? It is either a classmate’s fault, or the teacher’s fault, or the coach’s fault.
I want you to be honest with yourself. I want you to talk to your parents and get advice from your teachers, and I want you to write down in your agenda your own new school year resolution that if achieved, will make you a better person.
Achieving your new school year resolution won’t be easy. Setting a goal is one thing, but achieving it will require self-control, in some cases courage, and what I call, stick-to-it-ness. It will require patience, humility, a lot of humour, forgiveness, and good old fashion grit.
Flash forward to June 17, the last day of this school year and imagine how proud you will be with yourself for accomplishing your goal to be a better person. Imagine over hearing a classmate, a teacher, a parent in the hall speaking about you and having observed your actions throughout the year, describing you not as someone who won an award, but as someone who always makes others feel good about themselves – who has grit – who never gives up. Someone who is the kind of person we’d all like to be.
Now go out and be that person.