Dedication (noun) – adherence to something to which one is bound by a pledge or duty.
Today’s students are from the “Now” ideal.
They have knowledge and information instantly at their fingertips.
They can chat with friends and family right now.
They have television DVR so they don’t have to watch commercials.
This generation has not been forced to understand patience. They do not know what it is like to have to sit and wait through three and a half minutes of commercials or wait to speak to the friends they just saw until they get home.
How do we teach this new generation about working hard for results when they are so used to instant gratification? When pride of performance and long term goals are not as important as “What’s in it for me now?” I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a firm answer to that, but I do have some ideas and I know what I’ve tried and what works for the Title 1 city students that I coach.
In order to be dedicated, one must see and understand the goal in front of them. They need to understand the path to achieve it. One great way to do this is to create a road map of the goal. An actual poster with a road. Think the “Game of Life” game that we played as kids. The end game is the goal for the season. Along the road (in order) put the smaller goals that they need to see and accomplish. They cannot move forward until they have done the time at each stop along the road. If your end of season goal is to perform at a competition, they break all the pieces they will need to know along the road. Get creative with this and add in fun things too. Bonding, parties, dress up days, assemblies, etc.
Dedication is also to a family. Turn them into a family. Support each other. Build the honor and duty to their family and teach them how to rely on each other. Many of my kids do not come from supporting families. They look to the athletic teams and coaches that they play for as leaders and an outlet from their everyday lives. We have found a balance between love and friendship with the team and hard work and dedication. It takes practice and patience to make it all work. Find what works for your kids and go with it.
Every team must – Dream. Believe. Achieve.