Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division
- Monday, Jan. 18: Special Assembly Speaker: Bernie Farber, The Mosaic Institute – Laidlaw Hall, 9:55 a.m.
- Thursday, Jan. 21: Casual Dress Day – House Colours, Blue Spirit activity at 11:40 p.m.
- Friday, Jan. 22: Blue and White Casual Dress Day; Assembly/Pep Rally at 3 p.m.; Winterfest – athletic activites in the afternoon/evening
In last week’s message, I wrote about essential 21st century education skills for students. The article I cited identified character development as a vital part of developing student readiness for the future. And, resiliency is one character trait in particular, that’s continually referenced by education specialists as a key to future success.
With this in mind, I’d like to share a moving video clip as part of this week’s missive. It illustrates, among other notables, resiliency in action. I suspect the name Derek Redmond doesn’t mean much to you unless you follow track and field. He won gold medals in the 4×400-metre relay event at the Commonwealth Games, European championships and world championships during his career. But the race he’s likely most well-known for is one in which he finished dead last.
Redmond posted the fastest time in his opening heat for the 400-metre race at the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. He then went on to win his quarter-final race and was surely poised to be a favourite to medal in the final sprint. A little under halfway through the semi-final race, however, Redmond recounted hearing a snap that turned out to be a torn hamstring. Despite the pain he must have endured, Redmond was full of grit and committed to finishing the race. As he hobbled toward the finish line 250 metres away, his father broke through security at the event centre, propped himself under his son’s shoulder and helped him endure his painful journey. Prior to reaching the finish line, Redmond’s father let his son go so he could complete the race on his own. This remarkable story has been shown in many media forms since, but I think one of the most powerful clips can be found here. This incredibly inspiring story holds many lessons for all, but three in particular stand out for me as a parent:
- Our children will experience disappointment. I can’t imagine being in Redmond’s position of devoting years of his life in pursuit of an Olympic dream, only to see it shattered with one sharp snap in a split second.
- Supporting our kids through the disappointment they’ll face is extremely important. Some of the most touching scenes in the video show Redmond, in agony, embracing the support of his father as the two walk toward the finish line.
- We need to know when to let go and allow our children to work through their own difficulties.
Redmond didn’t accomplish all that he set out to do, but his father had the wisdom to know that he had to let his son go to finish the race he had trained for all his life. I encourage you to share the Redmond video with your son. There will definitely be times when he’ll experience trials here at the College, at university, and during his professional career. Indeed, disappointment and failure are necessary aspects of the human condition, and key to growth at any stage in life. We, and our children, may not achieve every goal we set out to accomplish. But by cultivating the character strength of resiliency, accepting support when we need it, developing self-advocacy and establishing a sense of ownership in all we do, we’ll be able to better manage challenges when they arise and cross the finish line at our own pace.
Thanks for reading,