This blog is a little slow to be published. When I saw the topic that we were all writing on for dog agility blog action day, I was keen to contribute but then the attitude of my students prevented me from taking action as I had intended. Yes I am blaming them . . . is that a bad attitude?
You see I am currently teaching an on-line course helping others to train their contact performances for agility. My students are world class, I mean the cream of the crop. Don’t get me wrong, there are few of them are “acing” the material at this point (week 4). I didn’t think many would this early on. There is a ton of games to learn in this course (it goes w-a-y beyond just training contacts) so, as you may imagine, with people’s life commitments such as work, family etc, many of the students are struggling to keep up (we are constantly reminding them to set their own pace).
You might think this would lead to an atmosphere of frustration, hopelessness or anger. But nothing could be further from the truth. It is almost as if they are enjoying their inability to keep up with pace of the course. That it is allowing them to enjoy the games with their dogs on a level different from what they expected when they signed up for the course. These students are supporting each other, some have created a side groups called “turtles” and have vowed to happily take their time working through the games. Turtles enjoying the games on their journey . . . I think I can see the t-shirts now.
This group are an absolute joy to teach, what makes them that way is their attitude towards learning. It energizes other students and lets them be “okay” with where they are and what they have accomplished “so far.” It plants the seeds for the possibility of future brilliance (which I am confident that this group will enjoy) and . . . it is what makes it difficult for me to pull myself away from their questions and sharing . . . and makes my blog sadly neglected.
I have seen this work in real life as well. It takes only one or two students in a workshop who can find joy in trying anything with their dogs to set the spirit of the entire group. It is amazing to see set in action and it makes me love my job even more than I already do!
Sadly, I am sure you have seen this work in reverse. People with an unhappy attitude towards learning, their dog, their instructor, their situation that have the ability to steal the joy from others. They are joy vampires. This is particularly true if the sour person is a role model to anyone around them.
But it doesn’t have to be that way for any of us. It is an age old but very true adage, we can’t control what others do around us, but we can control how we respond to their actions or comments. We dictate our own attitudes.
I couldn’t write a blog on “attitude” without a quote from the King of good attitudes, the late John Wooden who used to say;
“Make everyday your masterpiece.”
Our attitude sets the pace for each minute we live our life, for how we begin and end each day. For how we set and accomplish goals. Attitude can be a decision of our own or it can be an unconscious reflex to the energy of those we choose to spend time around. Joy or anger, the choice is ours to make . . . but sometimes it means stepping back and making a conscious change in the direction of our choosing.
Look for your joy, I promise you, it will be found.
Today I am grateful for the amazing attitude of my SYCS students. They bring joy to the process of education!