Resilience - January

RESILIENCE: January’s Key to Success
January, 2018

Dear Mill Pond Students and Families,

Happy New Year!  I hope that all of you thoroughly enjoyed your vacations! The December break is always a good time to play, relax, spend time with family and friends, and reflect upon the year that has passed and the year that is to come. As you all know, every month Mill Pond focuses on a different “Key to Success,” our Monthly Key Values.  For the month of January our focus is on Resilience.

What do you think about when you hear the word resilience? At Mill Pond, we define Resilience this way: Resilience means not giving up with whatever one has set out to do; persisting; bouncing back when you experience challenges or setbacks.

There are many times in our lives when we might need to practice some resilience. For example, if you play a sport such as basketball, you know that you will not score a basket every time you shoot the ball.  Even NBA players can’t do that! Your goal is to get a little better each time you play, and to do that, you need resilience. You can’t give up just because you missed one shot, or ten, or 100!  You have to think about your shot, try to figure out how to adjust what you’re doing to get a better result, and try again and again.

It’s the same thing if you play an instrument.  No one was born playing the piano like Thelonius Monk, the famous jazz pianist.  First you learn a little, then you practice, you make mistakes, you practice some more, and when you’re ready, you learn something new again. Each time you get a little bit better, but that only happens if you are resilient.

Every day in school your teachers will ask you to be resilient. The older you get, the more challenging your schoolwork becomes. Some of what you learn may come easily to you.  Some of it may be surprisingly hard.  Your teachers will never ask you to do something that is impossible for you.  They will ask you to do things that may not be possible YET, but with their help and your resilience, you will get there! Remember, your favorite author or video game designer did not create their finished products in one draft! They reviewed and revised when their work did not measure up to what they knew they could do with persistence and resilience.

Let’s look back to that basketball player mentioned earlier in this letter.  Suppose you are this player and you try out for the travel team and you do not make it. That’s extremely disappointing and no one would fault you for feeling sad. You could quit basketball because “you stink” or you could keep playing on the non-travel team because you enjoy basketball. Perhaps you’ve heard of Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time.  Did you know that when he was a sophomore in high school, he did not make the varsity basketball team at his high school? He cried and cried, and then used this as motivation to get better.  He practiced extra hard, played on the junior varsity team, and he made the varsity team his junior year.  The rest, as they say, is history! Jordan demonstrated resilience by not giving up, by persisting in his practicing, and by bouncing back from his disappointment.

Disappointments can even come in social situations. Suppose you really hoped your best friend would be in your class this year. It’s understandable that you might feel sad when this does not happen. What should you do?  You can make up your mind that this year will “stink” OR you can bounce back and be open to the possibilities of making new friends, of learning new things, and being part of an awesome class.  Who knows, you might even make another good friend!

Nelson Mandela once said, “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Just like that baby learning to walk, we all have to be willing to get back up and carry-on when things don’t go as expected or when we struggle in our attempts to do something. At Mill Pond, you have teachers and counselors and classmates who are all willing and able to help you bounce back. At home, you have your parents/guardians, your friends, family, and neighbors, who can all give you encouragement to keep on trying.  Ultimately, the people around you can give you support, ideas, encouragement, strategies, etc., but only YOU are the one who can decide if you’ll take another shot!

With something to think about... the choice is yours...


Ms. Kenny