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Posted: January 4, 2018, 12:00am by Kathleen Nelson-Simley
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The Importance of Ideals

My son, Christopher, was an All Stars student. It didn’t surprise me that he choose me as the adult he wanted to talk to about his All Stars conversational assignments. I also wasn’t surprised by what he was saying about himself through his All Stars work. Everything seemed to “fit” for him. For example, Christopher by nature is a helpful person. It was no surprise to me when he brought his Getting A Reputation worksheet home and he had written that the reputation he most wanted in his future was “to be a helper,” it fit. He got great advice from his classroom partner, his best friend, and me on things he should and should not do if he wanted to earn this reputation.

Things were going well for Christopher until one hot July day six months after All Stars concluded. That day I asked Christopher to pick the tomatoes in the garden. He had every excuse as to why he couldn’t pick the tomatoes. I was not in the mood to argue with him. In fact, I knew I didn’t have to argue with him. Within an arm’s reach hanging on the refrigerator were his All Stars worksheets, including his Getting A Reputation worksheet. I removed the sheet from the refrigerator and asked him to listen to something he wrote six months earlier. I read what he had written, ”More than anything else, I want to have a reputation of being a helper.” I also read aloud the advice his best friend and I had given him on how to earn this reputation, which included “being willing to do something when asked.”

I gave him three options:

  1. Pick the tomatoes and earn his way towards the reputation he wants.
  2. Don’t pick the tomatoes and not move any closer to earning his desired reputation.
  3. Change your reputation if this one is no longer important to you.

Not saying another word, he walked out the door to the garden and picked the tomatoes!

Later, we talked about the incident and I reminded him of the classroom discussion they had in All Stars when it was determined that a reputation is only earned when something is done by the person repeatedly over a long period of time. I also helped him understand that today was a day in his future he was planning for six months ago in All Stars. Today is a day full of opportunities for him to do what he needs to do to get what he said he wanted. I told him, “You either use it or you lose it.”

Your All Stars students will want great things in their future just like Christopher. The real test is whether they are willing to do what they need to do after All Stars to get it. At times when they get lazy, forget, or just don’t seem to care, it is important that you and others remind them of what they said and wanted. It’s easy to get off track. Put them back on track with their own words. Over time, they will realize what Christopher quickly realized. All Stars is really not over. It’s just beginning.