Learning to lead

Today I get to watch my daughter play hockey. She’s a goalie. Anyone who hasn’t played that position doesn’t really understand the position. It’s lonely at times, with a great deal of pressure. As I watched her today, it’s amazing how much she has improved from the beginning of the season. Heck, how much she learned from last weekend when she had 28 goals scored on her in 3 games. Not many kids would volunteer to suit up after that. In fact, she is even missing a family wedding so she can play this weekend.
As an educator, I’m always so impressed with children when they don’t allow a bad game or 3 affect them. As my daughter was getting ready today, all she was focused on was improving – not letting the other team score on a wrap-around. Not give up the long goal – get her body in front of that puck. It wasn’t about the bad games or the mistakes but about learning from them and getting better.

Somehow, as educators, heck as adults, we must adopt this same attitude. People like Angela Maiers, Lisa Dabbs, Tristan Bishop, Vicki Davis and others continue to bring this message but it needs to become something our children hear each day, especially in our schools.

As a K-12 principal, I often feel like a goalie (which I have been)! Too often I don’t just shake off that last goal and I waste too much time on what I could have done to make that save instead of looking around me to see how hard my team is working, thanking them for all their hard work, patting them on the back and getting ready to play again. That’s what I saw my kid do over and over last weekend – 28 times. She’s taught me a few things – last weekend it was about being a real leader.

Thanks Sarah.


  1. Jennie Snyder


    Thank you for your post. Your daughter is inspirational! Focusing on growth and improving, rather than what could have been is an important lesson for us all. So glad you shared it with us!

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