Week 19 of my training plan, one week from race day and I get sick.  Can you imagine?   I’m pretty resilient and thanks to my job, so exposed to germs, I rarely get sick.  But this week started with a major allergy attack on Monday.  No big deal but it decided to settle in my chest.  All week I’ve had sore throat, fever, chest congestion and a very crazy stomach situation.   You’re kidding me right??

Well, we never know what curve balls life will throw at us. What we do know and can control is our response to them.  Thankfully I’m in a taper week so my total mileage this week was only 20 miles.  I thought about not running only once, yesterday.   I felt terrible and my stomach was making getting out difficult.  I had to make the choice and I chose to push through and get it done.   It was a very interesting 45 minute, 3 mile run.  I then went to work.  Spent four consecutive hours, with no breaks meeting with individual teachers discussing their baseline results for students.  I then came home, cooked dinner and finally climbed in bed to rest.

Today I got up and out and now I’m off until Monday’s run.  I’m not trying to brag here, because it surely wasn’t fun or pretty running with what feels like an elephant sitting on my chest.  Rather, I’m telling you this because as I ran today I thought a lot about my students.

What saddens me is the role models our children have in this crazy world.  Society raises up lots of “perfect” people and kids look up to them.  Athletes who are the star of the team, reality TV stars who splash their lives all over social media, smart business men and women whose book, or idea made them rich.   That’s all well and good, but what our kids really need to see more is the average person out there struggling to overcome.  What they need are role models who are striving, many times against all odds, to accomplish something.   Many kids don’t have a vision for that.  They have no idea that Tom Brady has to actually work hard to be who he is.  Or that as a young man he likely struggled to make a team.  They don’t get to ever see, or hear about that.

Why you may wonder is that so?  It’s because watching someone struggle is not perceived as a thing of beauty.  In fact, most people turn away from it, or worse laugh at it.  We have been brainwashed to feel we are less than perfect if we struggle.  So, many people are embarrassed to get out there because they don’t want others to see them struggle.  They associate the struggle with weakness, or failure.

It is my hope that we find ways to be better role models for all kids.  Let them see the struggle and the power that happens when you push through something on your way to reaching your goal.  When I finished my running work for the week, I felt empowered that I got it done in spite of being under the weather.   Had I not pushed through I would’ve felt quite different.  Kids need to see that so they can develop a vision for the rewards of hard work.  Glorifying stars and athletes only gives kids the vision of the results of hard work, not the struggles that came first.

Be the change you want to see.  Make sure you are open and honest about what it took to get you the successes you enjoy.  You never know who you are a role model for. Share publicly your whole journey in the hopes that others will be inspired and learn that hard work truly does pay off.

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