What is a champion? The word often brings thoughts of athletes, winning the ultimate game. Webster’s definition includes warrior, fighter, defender, one fighting for the rights of others, and lastly the winner of a competition. Although I like the order of those descriptions, there is much more to this idea of being a champion. Or at least there should be…
Do I think of myself as being a champion in my role as wife? Mom? Teacher? Friend? Truthfully, no. But what if I did? After all, each role is important and has the power to influence and encourage my family, friends, students, and community. What if I consistently worked hard at improving my skills in each role?
The official music video for Carrie Underwood’s song “The Champion” (feat. Ludacris) does a beautiful job of expressing the broadness of this word. Included in the lyrics are invincible, unstoppable, unshakable-mixed with images of hard work, honesty, integrity, and sacrifice. People from all walks of life, facing every kind of challenge imaginable, working hard, persevering.
I love watching my students’ reactions to this video. Of course, the song is energetic and exciting. They love to sing along. When I ask what people they notice, the answers are all over the place-football player, swimmer, surfer, soldier, someone with cancer, a person with prosthetic legs-you get the idea.
What they don’t usually notice, however, are the students, teachers, parents-doing everyday things. They are students. As I like to remind them, doing school is their job. But do they consider themselves champions in that role of being a student? This is not a naturally occurring thought for them-or for us as parents and teachers either I’m afraid…
It’s never too late for a new mindset, right?
So where to begin? The answer will be different for each of us. For me personally, maintaining motivation is a constant struggle. Lack of sleep, feeling tired, possibly getting sick-anxiety levels begin to rise leading quickly to negative thoughts-I don’t think I can keep doing this, am I a good teacher, have I been a good mom-a rapid, downward spiral pulls me away from the much-needed motivation.
Sometimes the spiral slows with a prayer, a deep breath, a confession of feelings to a trusted friend. Other times it requires tears, and possibly a nap. Thoughts begin to refocus. A successful lesson, an encouraging word from a colleague, and a reminder that what I do has value, and therefore requires hard work.
Eventually, the search for motivation begins all over again, and I look for ways to make changes and improvements in my chosen roles. And who knows? Maybe there will be that moment where I feel like a champion.
Even better–maybe someone who crosses my path will feel like a champion.