“Making” them face the challenge

On Friday our school will celebrate its annual International Festival. Each and every year we begin this event by honoring the US with the singing of the National Anthem. This year I told my awesome 8th grade girls that they were going to do it. To this I received quite a bit of hesitation. It is a scary big deal for five girls to stand up in front of the school and sing one of the hardest melodies ever. (Seriously, an octave and a half?!) For two weeks I have been reassuring them over and over about their abilities and my unabashed faith in them. I have full and absolute faith that they can take on this challenge.

I just read a quote from a review of “Race to Nowhere” that talked about resume building and it made me think a moment. One of my rationales to one of the girls was, “this will look good on your resume”. In retrospect, this is not why I want them to do this, I think it takes away from building the intrinsic joy of facing a challenge. I want them to do this to challenge their fears, to show their gifts, and to show a different group of student leaders. For the most part, they are facing up to their fears and coming around to the idea. After they sing for the performance and as they reflect, I know they will be glad they faced the challenge and be as proud of themselves as I am of them.

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