The National AfterSchool Association is the leading voice of the afterschool profession dedicated to development, education, and care of children and youth during their out of school hours.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Success Comes from Inspiration and Perspiration

Dr. Paul G. Young
President and CEO
National AfterSchool Association
Success in leading afterschool programs, as in any other field, is a combination of inspiration and perspiration – and to quote Thomas Alva Edison, “success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” ccess is 10 percent inspiration and 90 spiration.  
This is good news, because every one of us can choose to put forth the effort to make that ninety percent plus difference. And teaching kids how to put forth effort – to perspire – may be one the most important benefits we can give them from their involvement in afterschool programs.

Arguably, some of the parents and community residents you interact with appear to lack any kind of inspiration. And if you are like me, you sometimes wonder why you work so hard to support what appears to be their total lack of interest and apathy toward work and learning. Their aversion to work seems to be contagious. You might wonder how long it’s been since any of them have really perspired.

People like that lack dreams. They have no interest in investigation. They have failed to learn how to persevere. Their sense of independence has been sapped. Their existence is in the present. They can’t foresee a future.

Afterschool programming can help. We can teach all children to dream, to work hard, to sweat and get back up when they get knocked down. Most importantly, we must teach by being inspirational! We can be role models to help children and youth understand that work can be fun. We must always be conscious of what we say, how we act, and how we look.

Our nation’s incessant attempts to transform education with high-stakes testing have debatably reduced teachers’ time to teach dreams, aspirations, and long range goal-setting. The realities of pass or fail at a very early age sends a powerful message of self-worth to countless children whose family support systems cannot support them. We cannot allow afterschool to become an extension of this focus. Instead, afterschool must be the nurturing environment where every child and adolescent can feel valued, explore, dream, persevere from mistakes, and learn to work hard.

Do you have dream and a clear vision of prosperity for your afterschool program? Do you explore, dream, persevere from your mistakes, and invest in sweat equity to achieve results? We hope you do, and NAA can help you get even better. Plan now to attend the NAA National Convention and exhibition in Orlando, Florida, April 16-18, 2011. Join more than 2000 of your colleagues from all over the country as we recharge, refresh, dream, explore ideas, and commit to work harder than ever to assure that our children are prepared to achieve their dreams and fullest potential in their lives.