Resilience - January

RESILIENCE: January’s Key to Success
January, 2017

Dear Mill Pond Students,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a great break and you’re feeling healthy and ready to jump back into your school work. Of course I know that the work you do can be difficult, especially as your teachers are expecting more from you than they were at the beginning of the year. I also know that there will be moments when you’ll have a hard time and fail in the work you’re doing. That word “fail” is a word that sounds so bad but really isn’t. If you think about it, children and adults fail all the time. If you’re a fan of sports, you’ve seen athletes do this. Consider the following:

  • A very good major league hitter only gets a hit 3 out of every 10 times they go up to bat!
  • Our great Celtics players, like Isaiah Thomas, make around half the shots they take.
  • Out of all the shots that are taken during soccer games, very few actually go in.
  • Even the great Tom Brady doesn’t complete every pass he throws.

Those are people who train and practice their skills hours each day for years. Yet they still fail!

What you do in school is very different - you’re working on new skills that you often have never tried before. Of course you’re going to fail. Your teachers expect that. How you respond to those failures is the key - which is why RESILIENCE is the key value for January. Before I share my thoughts on resilience, what does it mean to you? It may be a new word to you.

To me, resilience means bouncing back when something bad or difficult has happened to you. It’s easy to work hard when things are going smoothly; resilience really shows after you’ve had a setback like a disappointing test grade or a sports game that your team lost. After that low grade, you’re resilient when you study extra hard for the next test. After that lost game, you’re resilient when you practice extra hard to get ready for the next game. RESILIENCE is defined as: “Not giving up with whatever one has set out to do; persisting; bouncing back when you experience challenges.”

You may have heard this quote about resilience: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”  That means that when things are hard, the tough people keep going and don’t quit or give up. Think about this quote too: fall three times, stand up four. It means that no matter how many times you get knocked down in life, it’s important to get up just one more time than you got knocked down. That means that at the end you’re standing tall.

You may not be surprised that I’m going to use the Patriots as another way to explain resilience. Most every season professional football teams have to show resilience as they go through the long season. The Patriots certainly had to do that this season. Their all star, amazing tight end Rob Gronkowski missed many games because of injuries and will be out for the rest of the year. One of their top receivers, Danny Amendola, has missed a lot of games because of injury too. You may have heard that Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the year. Despite all that, they won 14 games and lost only twice this year! In the next few weeks, we’ll see how far their resilience can take them in the playoffs. Stay tuned.

Of course RESILIENCE isn’t just something professional athletes show. Everyone has failures so it’s important for everyone.

Like with many of the key values in life, there is a reward for being resilient. It’s not in the form of money, electronic devices, or candy - it’s that feeling you have when you do something for the first time that you didn’t think you could ever do. Have you ever had that great feeling - maybe the first time you rode a bike or swam on your own? That feeling makes you start to wonder about other things that you didn’t think you could do. Unlike adults, you all have the gift of bodies that are getting bigger and stronger and brains that are growing every day. There is so much you can do if you stay resilient and don’t let life’s disappointments get you down!!

Here’s a fun picture I found about resilience to leave you with a challenge.

The orange “person” in the picture is literally picking itself up and carrying on - as the caption says. If you can make that figure with an orange or clementine, send me a picture at my school email address – 5th and 6th graders, I’ll post an assignment in google classroom that you can use to get me your picture! I’ll put all the pictures up in the cafeteria where other students can see them.


Mr. Slomski