Inculcating Champion Qualities in Children
by Nicoline Ambe
People are not born champions. They become champions through teaching, learning and repeated doing. As a teacher, my primary goal is to foster champion mentality in my students. Any visitor to my classroom will see an obvious poster which describes what champions do. It is a daily class chant, and the students know how high the bar is raised. If you are a parent reading this, I encourage you to recreate this list and post it around your house for your kids. It will set good expectations for them, and reinforce what they learn at school. No child is too young to be taught what’s on this list. I will go down the list.
Work hard: I tell my students that hard work pays off. Don’t be afraid to work hard. Enjoy what you do, work hard at it, and see it as part of the process that makes you a better and more effective person.
Never Quit: Winners never quit and quitters never win. When concepts get difficult in class and my students don’t want to think, or just prefer to quit, I ask them to push through. I have a pointer that I use to point to the “champion poster” as a reminder of what the expectation is.
Have a plan: I tell students that to get to a destination, you need a road map. You can’t just get up and drive to an unknown destination with no map. Ambition is the same way. You have to have a clear map as to how you will attain your ambition.
Set goals: Goals drive passion, and passion moves you faster and closer to your goal. When I ask students what their goal is, for the most part, they will say it is to make better grades. So I refer them back to points 1-3 on the champion poster on how that could be achieved. It works every time.
Love to learn: Champions become champions by reading, reading, reading, and asking questions. They are inquisitive. They love to experiment. They investigate. They research. They probe, and they find a way to put the pieces of the puzzle together to paint a clear picture.
Help others: Reaching out to others and giving back to the community are what champions do. I tell students to only say nice things to others, and nice things about others. Nobody reaches the top by relying exclusively on their own abilities, so it is imperative to reach out in the same way to others.
Stay healthy: Champions not only do the right things to stay healthy, they make sure their appearance is in top form. Staying healthy means eating right, exercising, and maintaining proper hygiene. Building strong adaptive skills in students goes a long way to preparing them for champion status.
Stay focused: A great quality of champions is the ability to remain focused on the goal and the dream. For small kids, it is as simple as staying on task and completing the work before them without interruptions. For some kids, this takes numerous promptings but it ultimately sticks.
Listen: One of my favorite things to say to students is “repeat to me what I just said.” The ability to listen, and apply, where appropriate, can transform an ordinary person to an extraordinary person.
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