Messier Reconsidered?

“The only pressure I’m under is the pressure I put on myself.”
Mark Messier

Not everyone sees things the way Mark Messier does. One afternoon last week a Grade 8 boy slowly walked down the front steps of the school building and into his parents’s car. As he eased into the back seat, he burst into tears. Despite his best efforts, the exam hadn’t gone anywhere near as well as he had hoped…

It’s easy to understand why some of our boys feel pressure. They worked hard to get in to UCC, and they know their parents, who are also feeling a bit more anxious than usual these days themselves, are working hard to keep them here. Our sons are surrounded by and competing with other hard-working boys, who also understand that their families are making huge emotional as well as financial investments in their success.

At the risk of sounding like an old fashioned Smith-Barney ad, it is important to help our boys define “success” over the long term. There will be all kinds of ups and downs throughout the adolescent odyssey, and despite their best efforts, there will be the occasional botched test or less than perfect project. It’s important for them to learn from failures as well as successes.

If there is one thing adults can offer our boys it is a sense of perspective. We know what it’s like to be 14. They don’t yet know the joys of 41. I know I fumbled through more than my share of poor papers, tests and quizzes, but the fact that I can’t remember a single one may be all my sons need to know.


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