Written by Superintendent Darryl Seguin. Reprinted with permission of The Lethbridge Herald.
All of us have had bad days and good days and children are certainly no exception to this rule. Perhaps someone didn’t treat us well; someone said something mean, excluded us or ignored us. Perhaps someone else treated us with kindness, sincerely complimented us, invited us to be part of the group and listened to us. Sometimes our work pays off and we find ourselves holding the championship banner after the game, and other times all our studying and work still doesn’t get us the marks or job we hoped for.
There will always be life circumstances that are beyond our control, so how do we as educators, parents, and community members help our children learn to successfully navigate the ever-changing dynamics of life, learning and growing?
Although there are many avenues to helping our children, teaching them to understand and develop a positive attitude is an effective tool we can give kids that can help them learn and grow in positive ways.
Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl, said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one's own way.”
How do we teach kids to develop a positive attitude even in difficult circumstances? Former Brooklyn student Chanie Gorkin believes it is all about perspective. In 2015, the grade 11 student wrote a poem for a school assignment titled, Worst Day Ever. Gorkin told 1010 WINS in an interview in July 2015, “I don’t think there is such a thing as the worst day ever. I wanted to show how your day is really based on how you look at things.” The poem, which went viral after her mom entered it in a poetry contest, has a remarkable effect on readers.
Worst Day Ever?
Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day
Now read it from bottom to top, the other way,
And see what I really feel about my day.
When I first read this poem I was amazed at the talent and wisdom coming from one so young; I still am. I believe that one of the greatest ways we can help our children find happiness and success in life is to teach by the example to have a positive attitude and look at challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.
This is something I continually work on and I challenge all educators, parents and community members to join me in this ongoing pursuit.