The change within

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”-Viktor Frankl

One of the most difficult, yet very important lessons we can teach our students is how to handle adversity. All too often kids learn to quit when they are down and when something doesn’t work the first time, that it won’t in the future. Is this the message we want to send? That one try at something is enough? That when you feel like quitting it is acceptable to do so?


I believe that sometimes we miss the message that the quote speaks to above. That when we cannot change the situation, we must adapt ourselves and find the path to success no matter the obstacle. I am not arguing that we lose ourselves, morals, values or judgement along the way. But our students need to know that they can manage varied situations.  We do not always have control over our situation, but we control our response. We can find success in a variety of ways, and sometimes it takes quite a few tries to realize our goals. We can take a time when things are not ideal, and persevere to achieve rather than make excuses for why things did not go as planned.

This quote also speaks to the fact that it is a challenge to change ourselves…to adapt. This is no easy feat, and students need support to figure out what changes need to be made. We as lead learners must model how to handle adversity to guide and inspire our students to try it for themselves.

Challenging adversity and adapting ourselves to find success pushes our boundaries as people.  It is an exhausting experience, but builds strength and confidence. I believe that once our students rise to a challenge presented and triumph, they realize that the only person standing in the way of their success is the one that looks back at them in the mirror.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”-George Bernard Shaw

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  1. Oliver Schinkten December 27, 2013 at 2:44 PM - Reply

    Great post, Garnet! This is wonderful advice for everyone (students, teachers, administrators, community members). The ability to develop that “GRIT” and persevere through obstacles is critical to success. Angela Lee Duckworth has a great TED talk on “GRIT” which I think is awesome.

    The part I like the most about the post is that you mention – “We as lead learners must model how to handle adversity to guide and inspire our students to try it for themselves” – I think this is going to be so very critical in the next couple years. Times are changing. Education is changing. We can embrace this change and uncertainty by showing that we have GRIT and that we will make progress even if it means being knocked down and getting back up repeatedly.

    Great stuff, as always!!! I love reading your insights!

    Oliver Schinkten

  2. Karl Lindgren-Streicher December 26, 2013 at 8:52 PM - Reply

    I really enjoyed this post Garnet – I identified with a lot of it!

    I’d love to read about how you give students the opportunities to overcome or handle adversity in your classroom. Not to suggest blog posts for you 🙂 It’s something I’ve spent some time thinking about though – giving students a chance to struggle and maybe even fail in an authentic way, but in a safe way as well. I know that moves a little beyond where you went with this post, but I’m sure you’ve got some ideas that I could ‘borrow’ and use in my classroom!

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