At a recent parent’s coffee, a dad asked me a question that caught me off guard: “What do you want the boys who graduate from UCC to remember? And please don’t tell me it’s about making friends.”
This is the kind of query that can activate my personal cliche-o-meter, but I hope our boys feel valued for who they are and not just for what they’ve done. I remind them from time to time that they won’t put your transcript on your tombstone (Thank God!) I also hope that in addition to the standard set of virtues (compassion, integrity, respect, responsibility, and fairness), they develop their courage and resiliency muscles.
On courage: Aristotle said that we learn courage by doing courageous things. He suggests we should think about courage as a muscular rather than just a cognitive activity. (The easy thing to do is realize you need to talk to your brother about his drinking. The HARD part is actually having the conversation.)
On resiliency: Our boys are a talented bunch, but as gifted as they may be, each will still face that dark moment of the soul. They may not get the job, the school, or the spouse that they want. How will they deal with those inevitable setbacks, and what can we do to help them with this.
I’ve wondered what it would be like if we could bring in a dad or an Old Boy who could talk to the boys about a time he failed, a time he was fired, or circled zero. Would that help our boys understand that they have it in them to bounce back when life throws them to the turf?