Gratitude and Grace . . .

Gratitude and grace are traits that often come to light around the holidays.  As I was reflecting on these, and on the challenges that surface in our society these days, it drew me back to a newsletter article from a few years ago. I thought the message might be appropriate for us to consider again. . .

As a parent and grandparent, I am truly thankful for the impact the people of MOC-Floyd Valley have had – and continue to have on my family! (Four of our six children (counting in-laws) graduated from MOC-Floyd Valley, and six of our eight grandchildren currently attend MOC-Floyd Valley.)  As the superintendent, I am just as thankful for the impact the people of MOC-Floyd Valley have on all of our students! 

There is no doubt in my mind, that all of our employees are committed to our District Mission of fostering learning, excellence and civic responsibility in all of our students.  One great example of this is demonstrated by our athletic coaches.  Consider their responses when asked to consider the following prompt, “Ten years after graduation, I hope that the student-athletes I had the privilege of coaching would say . . . about their experience as a member of any MOC-FV athletic team . . .”

Below is a summary of their responses:

  • “I felt cared for, respected and invested in.”
  • “I was challenged.”
  • “I was valued.”
  • “I learned to be selfless and care about others.”
  • “I had tons of fun.”
  • “I had to work hard, and it was worth it.”
  • “I was encouraged – and encouraged my teammates.”
  • “We had great relationships on our team.”
  • “I, we all, were accountable to each other.”
  • “I learned how to work hard and persist.”
  • “I learned life lessons.”
  • “Best four years of my life.”
  • “We grew in character and learned how to handle adversity.”
  • “I developed toughness and grit.”
  • “We were a family.”
  • “We were a team.”

While our coaches are extremely competitive, memories of wins and losses were not mentioned – perhaps because they are of less importance than the development of character and the sense of belonging – and perhaps because wins and losses tend to work out when a team has the right focus.

A deeper look at their responses clearly shows alignment with our District Belief Statements of . . .

CARINGWe will show genuine interest in and sensitivity towards others.

COOPERATIONWe will work together in partnership – school, families and communities.

EFFORT – We will demonstrate diligence and perseverance to achieve our personal best.

RESPONSIBILITYWe will be accountable for our actions and choices both individually and collectively.

RESPECTWe will recognize and honor the intrinsic worth of others as well as ourselves while valuing property and belongings.

EXCELLENCEWe will expect, strive for and encourage the highest level of achievement.

INTEGRITYWe will consistently reflect honesty and high moral character.

CREATIVITYWe will foster a safe learning environment where creative thinking and positive risk-taking are valued and nurtured.

I am confident that the responses would be very similar from our activity sponsors who also pour into our students in the same selfless manner.  The pay for coaching or sponsoring these activities is relatively low, and the investment of time is significant.  Those who serve in these roles, do so because they care deeply about young people and see their sport or activity as a vessel for impacting those very young people!  If you have the opportunity, please encourage them and thank them for all they do!  They truly do deserve our gratitude and our grace!

Go Dutch!