Lessons in Leadership Beyond the Classroom
Six weeks ago, 20 Lower School students headed out for their first run as part of the Boys and Girls on the Run club. Five minutes into the run, nearly half of the runners had stopped to walk and were struggling to catch their breath. I heard a range of comments along the way that included:
“I’m tired!” “How much longer?” “I can’t run any longer!” “My side hurts too much!”
Fast forward to our last run this past week. Almost every runner ran the whole time — 2.4 miles!
The comments I heard along the way and when we finished were very different from our first run:
“You can do it!” “Stick with it!” “Go Mrs. Hobbs!” “I haven’t stopped yet!”
“I am doing much better than last time!” “ I made it, I ran the whole time!”
“I am so sad running club is over.”
At times, I didn’t hear any voices at all because the runners were focused and concentrating on their pace and stamina so they could finish the run without stopping. Being one of the runners in the back of the pack, I was so thankful for the voices I heard calling back to us and lifting us up with their cheers and positive encouragement while they continued running forward. One of the most impressive moments was when one second grade girl stumbled on a root, fell hard to the ground, and scraped up both knees and hands. She immediately got right back up, kept running, and didn’t complain one bit.
At the start of this club, some of these runners could not run one mile without stopping, and they struggled to maintain positive throughout the run.
What changed in six weeks that positioned them to run 2.4 miles and enjoy it?
Running one day a week for six weeks did not make this group more physically fit. This was about a mental shift that occurred within some of the runners that allowed them to look at their situation differently. There was a recognition that they had control over their experience and outcome.
This occurred as a result of intentional teaching. Ms. Mary Glenn Crumpler ‘06, who led the club, spent time before and after each run discussing how to be a successful runner. Some lessons were content-specific and focused on topics like stretching, breathing, and pacing. But the most important lessons focused on what it means to “lead self”:
Self-aware – knowing what type of runner they were and what they needed to do to be successful.
Accountable – setting goals, checking in on their own progress, and holding themselves responsible for accomplishing their goals.
Growth-minded– willing to change perspective, learn new things, and recognize they could improve if they worked hard.
Motivated– finding ways to keep their energy and spirits positive.
Resilient– perseverance and focus even when faced with challenges.
These short, five minute conversations had a powerful impact on our runners and modeled exactly what our leadership and citizenship initiative strives to achieve—providing our students with a skill set that will position them to be successful beyond the classroom.
Way to go, Boys and Girls on the Run! I’m very proud of all of you!
A special thank you to all the faculty members who sponsored clubs this spring and allowed our Lower School students the opportunity to explore and discover passions outside of our core curriculum.
Sign Language (Mrs. Carothers and Mrs. Mark), Math Puzzles/Brain Boosters (Mrs. Keane), Scrapbooking (Mrs. Tyler-Gay and Dr. Harper), Kickball (Ms. Childrey and Ms. Crawford) , Crocheting (Mrs. Ausbon), Gardening (Mr. Fielder), Zumba (Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Farmer), Book Club (Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Bednarz), Google Building Maker (Mrs. Fordham), Student Council (Mrs. Baccus and Mrs. Paul), and Yoga (Mrs. Frendt).