I just witnessed a group of teens and young adults who said, with a straight face and all the seriousness in their heart that they could muster, that if they did not figure out a way to improve over their performance of last year, they’d be toast. They knew they needed to grow, adapt, change, evolve and break new ground… for if they didn’t, they knew someone else, with more hunger in the belly, would come along and take from them their, well… everything. Their future, their ability to earn a prosperous living , and so on.
Work ethic, creativity, self-determination, guts, a willingness to learn and grow and experiment and push the envelope, they showed it all.
I LOVE young people such as this. And I then I realized that if public education, and all the people who were involved in it, had this same attitude, we might literally move mountains.
Yep, I am saying it: if public education were more like the X games, I think we might all be happily surprised.
Look, I am a HUGE fan of the X games. If you ain’t seen some of their highlights, you have no idea what you are missing. Check it out…
See, the thing is, the reason I believe we, in education, have much we can learn from these X gamers is because 1) They care. I mean they really care. Passion drives this sport and nobody shows up to work at the X games without bringing their A game.
Imagine if our students showed up to class with this same hunger to learn. Or if our nation’s teacher’s showed up with this same fire to teach? It’d almost be a different world. I mean how many people who work at our schools actually show up at the start of a new school year and feel, “If I don’t have the best year as a teacher that I have ever had, if I don’t give my best, reinvent parts of myself, give 110% this year, I’ll be toast?
2) They bounce back from adversity. There’s not an X-gamer out there who does not know what it means to fall flat on their face. It’s a world where falling and failing is part of the process but woven into the fabric of being a participant is the notion that YOU GET UP.
You get up. Getting knocked down is inevitable. When adversity strikes, you don’t fold your tent, you don’t weep, “Poor me”, you don’t give up.
You plan to keep going.
3) They celebrate one another’s achievements in a way that is characterized by authentic camaraderie. They are rooting for one another’s success. It’s not a back-biting, undercutting, talk trash about your kids and your colleagues in the lunchroom type of world. They are each working to be their best but they are also each a part of a bigger whole and they love to sit back and admire the excellent efforts of the people in the same game.
They know how to tip their hat.
X games: it’s more than just apparently suicidal tricks. It’s an outlook on life.