Lance Scranton: Defining our mantra
February 14, 2012
Look around our local community, sports teams or extra-curricular activities and you'll see or hear mantras of all kinds.
They're found on T-shirts, banners, and even painted on the sides of vehicles. Most are clever, some are less than appropriate, but they all have an underlying meaning:
This is what we stand for.
As a teacher, I'm intrigued by these pithy phrases. A popular saying a few years ago was "Bronco Nation."
It means more than just the die-hard or fair-weather fan. The "Nation" encompasses more than Denver and incorporates all fans who love the Broncos.
A mantra defines a belief and establishes an attitude.
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Our assistant superintendent in the Moffat County School District, Brent Curtice, likes to say, "It's all good."
He isn't saying everything is perfect or we can't get better, but in the grand scheme of things we are doing OK and we're going to improve.
Craig Conrad, a former Moffat County High School teacher, current host of the TV series "Call of the Wild," and creator of the "UNSTOPPABLE" program, tells students and adults to stop "striving for average" because many people just do enough to get by.
His mantra, "strive for excellence," expresses what our community is determined to achieve.
Students have some mantras that are very enlightening.
Many kids in our schools are fond of answering any behavioral question that has "why" in it with: "because I do what I want."
Being a teenager can be challenging and doing whatever one wants may seem like the best way to live. Unfortunately for many of these students, this mantra becomes an excuse to disregard advice or behave in an inconsiderate manner.
Coaches refer to the mantra as "self-talk" and we try to monitor our athletes because self-talk is revealing.
When challenged by teachers or coaches, some students respond with, "I guess I just suck."
It isn't that they aren't good or couldn't get better, the self-talk simply validates a belief that if what they are doing isn't good enough then they simply aren't going to try any harder on the field, court, or in the classroom.
One of my least favorite mantras is wishing our teams "good luck."
I cringe because this means a couple of things.
First, that all our hard work to win will come down to something we don't control, or that winning really isn't something we can control.
I always say "play well, have fun," and when people ask me about luck, I pull out one of my favorite mantras in response: "Luck is a loser's excuse for winning."
A very famous coach once said, "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity." I like that.
I'm convinced that if the "Bulldog Nation" will play hard and work hard to improve and our community continues to rally behind our kids, our mantra will become more positive as we realize that "it's all good" and we are "striving for excellence."
Listen to your self-talk.
What are you saying about our Bulldog Nation and, more importantly, yourself?