08 Sep Organization: September’s Trait for Success
By: John Zurn, Headmaster
I am frequently asked what it takes for children to be successful in school and in life. The answers that come quickly to mind are good grades or intelligence, or perhaps even the good luck of being born at the right place in the right time with the implication that successful people are somehow born, not made.
While intelligence, birthright, and performance all play a role in a child’s development, research shows that strength of character provides the most solid foundation for success. Ralph Waldo Emerson defined character as “the quiet, reserved, value-creating force of the person, untouched by circumstances or external pressures”. When aligned with action, character adds energy, value, service, and contribution to all it touches; character elevates human endeavor.
At St. Michael’s, it is this focus on character that distinguishes the quality of our program and community. Each month, we highlight a Trait for Success. I speak about it in school-wide Assemblies, our teachers talk about it in the classrooms, and our parents talk about it at home. The premise is fairly simple: if I say it, if our teachers say it, and if our parents say it, then our children will believe that it is true.
September’s Trait for Success is Organization, and I encourage you to speak with your children about it. Ask about their lockers and desks and bookbags. Speak about the ways you have organized things to make your job, or your home, or your responsibilities easier to manage and how organization has helped you to become a better parent, friend, colleague, employee, employer. September is a great time for parents to go over room cleaning, clothing culling, and morning “start the day” routines.
Take advantage of our focus on organization in school. Use our names liberally in explaining to your children that your assignment as a parent is to help teachers teach and children learn the importance of Organization in determining future success. If you do these things now, you will be surprised to discover the kinds of conversation that evolve when we focus on the Success Traits of Courage or Generosity or Persistence or Responsibility.