Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers' football coach, said “Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is”. Wanting to win is the cornerstone of my “Spirit 2 Win” philosophy. This approach targets children ages nine to thirteen. I believe children in that bracket are uniquely impressionable, therefore capable of starting to be accountable for their behavior and attitude.
The type of social environment a child matures in tends to influence his/her personal motivation. If the environment means parents, teachers, schools, and community encouraging children to achieve, promoting opportunities for them to reach their full potential, emphasizing the value of learning through studying, obtaining good grades, and building self-confidence, then they are likely to achieve. Take away one or more of these factors, and the achievements will be significantly reduced.
Our education system teaches fundamentals and expects children to work for a grade. The one thing we have not given them is a tool to overcome the self-defeating behaviors that occur when fundamentals and concepts are not clear to them, resulting in an inability to apply what they have learned. Without a tool to help them work individually through these challenges, they are headed for partial or total failure.
My experience as a grade teacher taught me that coping with this education system is all about attitude and behavior. I developed a document delineating two paths: a culture of winning, and a culture of losing. The losing culture is populated with a series of self-defeating traits, while the winning culture is populated with positive ones. I presented this tool to my students. This resulted in making inroads to the behavior and attitudes in the classroom. Each self-defeating behavior in the culture of losing was compared to behaviors in the culture of winning. As the year progressed I noticed significant positive behavioral changes and significant individual achievements. Renewed energy, inspiration, engagement and positive thinking is really at the core of “Spirit 2 Win”.
Spirit 2 Win is not a “silver bullet” to overcome every situation. It is a way for children to be held accountable and to be successful by opting for a culture of losing or a culture of winning. These two cultures are connected by a bridge, with the culture of winning uphill and the culture of losing downhill. Children will move back and forth, but the real success is when they gradually count more steps uphill.
The Spirit 2 Win provides a template to manage school-age child behavior. supported by discussions. Spirit is enthusiasm, innovation, energy, positive thinking and the desire to achieve. Children are naturally resilient, but without spirit, no program to assist them in coping with challenges will prove fruitful.
Like a baseball player hitting a home run experiences euphoria, a child solving a complex word problem can experience a similar feeling. Winning fosters mental growth and self-reliance. Without this factor, educational challenges will be that much tougher. I believe this initiative will energize students and be a tool to enhance their education-based journey.
Spirit 2 Win is targeted to the educational environment, but can have significant transitional value in a child's future when dealing with every aspect of personal and professional life.
Wanting to win defines “Spirit 2 Win”.