Back in the day there used to be a TV ad that asked,
how do you spell relief? The answer, R-O-L-A-I-D-S.
Let me ask, how do you spell success? Is the answer
S-T-A-A-R? Good grades. Honor roll. Football or volleyball
victories. Fine arts achievement. Athletic awards. First
chair. Perfect attendance. High school graduation.
Acceptance into post-secondary education. Increased
reading levels. Girl scout or boy scout merit badges.
The season for high stakes testing is rapidly approaching.
In many schools and homes stress levels are beginning to
rise. These tests are important, but remember, it is just
one test with opportunities for retests.
Many students will face far more challenging tests with
possible serious consequences. Parents divorce. The
death of a family member. Homelessness. Chronic illness
or injury that prevents them from participating in a favorite
activity or sport. Persistent bullying and harassment. Teen
pregnancy. Temptations to use drugs, alcohol, and
tobacco. Physical or sexual abuse by an adult. And the
list goes on.
Yes, absolutely, educators and families want their students
to pass the STAAR tests. But as mentors, role models,
and parents we desire our children to excel in the tests of
life. Success is spelled – Perseverance. Resilience.
Forgiveness. Empathy. Purpose-driven. Goal-oriented.
Compassion. Integrity. These essential character traits are
not often printed in a curriculum or lesson plan, because
they are more often caught than taught. It is up to us
adults to demonstrate these traits daily. When we fail, be
tenacious and try again. When we wrong others, including
our children, genuinely apologize. When we are wronged,
be quick to forgive. When we see a person in pain, be
ready to listen and show tenderness. When we see others
struggling, understand their need and share what we have.
Students can read about great men and heroic women,
but the impact is more powerful when they see it lived out
in the people they trust and respect. Perhaps the greatest
gift we can pass on to our children are practical life skills.
They will read it in our facial expression. They will hear it in
our tone of voice. They will emulate our body language. In
2019 let’s teach our children how to spell success.