by Thad Falkner, Head of School
“Our next Student Council Treasurer is ______.” Biannually I hear this announcement, and it usually goes this way: The crowd of students in the library waits quietly to hear the results of the election. The winner is announced, and a big smile fills her face. Those who lost are disappointed; Do they take away something positive?
Helping students grow academically, athletically, socially, and emotionally requires a breadth of experiences. Wilson’s Excellence Program provides resources for many opportunities for students, but perhaps one of its lesser known components is the support it provides for competitions. While it is a small aspect of the program, it makes a big difference for students, regardless of how they place. From Greek Mythology to creative improvisation to extramural sports to robotics, Wilson students tend to have strong outcomes, and it is fun to read the list of winners. However, in a bigger sense, taking home first place is not the only way for a student to win in a competition. That’s not to say we don’t celebrate victories, but rather that we recognize that children learn invaluable lessons in resilience and other important qualities through the process of competing and the experience of both winning and losing.
How do our students benefit simply by participating in competitions?
These experiences in themselves carry enormous value in a child’s development and provide encouragement for healthy risk-taking.
Of course, one of the risks is the question, “What if I lose?” We should challenge our students not to fear that question by emphasizing the process rather than the outcome. Along the way, and after the dust settles, parents and teachers can do this by:
Growing in grit, resolve, and persistence happens through repeated processes, not from a singular event. There’s a lot of truth to, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” By giving our students a chance to live out that maxim, they learn that being successful doesn’t just come from winning.
Wilson in the News