Written by: John Hankinson, Upper School Principal
As I begin my 20th year at Tattnall, I continue to observe a disturbing trend in some of our students. They never realize their true potential because they are reluctant to try new things. I think their rationale is, that if they don’t try, they can’t fail. They are satisfied being good enough instead of striving to be great. We, as parents and educators, must make every effort to discourage this mindset. We expect our faculty to encourage our students to get out of their comfort zones and experience life to its fullest. To do so, students must be willing to try new things and know that they may not like them all. As we continue to partner with families, please look for growth opportunities for your child. These opportunities may be in spiritual, academic, social, or extracurricular areas. Oftentimes, the greatest rewards come when one is willing to take a risk.
To illustrate my point, I will share an experience I had several years ago. Shortly after graduating from college, I was working in Atlanta and heard about regional tryouts for the Olympic Bobsled Team that were being held at Georgia Tech. I called and was invited to tryout and did so one Saturday morning (I still have the t-shirt to prove it!). I wish I could tell you I made the cut and moved on to the national tryouts but that was not the case. However, I still remember that day fondly and now know how much effort it takes to push a bobsled. It was a great experience even though the end result was not successful.
I have 4 children at Tattnall ranging from K4-12th grade. They are each unique in their interests and are involved in many extracurricular activities. Therefore, I can empathize with you in terms of how this involvement can sometimes be an inconvenience. However, the experiences and confidence they gain from trying new things and experiencing new opportunities far outweighs the early mornings, late nights, and constant juggling of schedules.
A verse of scripture that I often think of addresses this topic well. Joshua 1:9 states, “Haven’t I commanded you, be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua trusted God in a difficult situation, took a risk when success was not assured, and was rewarded for doing so. We should follow this advice and encourage our children to do so as well.
We look forward to another great year at Tattnall. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.
Upper School Principal