Excellence is a hallmark of every successful individual, business, and team. Yet, the temptation is strong to settle for mediocrity or fall prey to perfectionism rather than pursue excellence. Pursuing excellence healthily is a challenge for many, and it becomes an even more complicated topic for parents raising teens. I am convinced that pursuing excellence is an essential life skill. It is not something that is necessarily innate or comes naturally to us; it is a skill that must be cultivated intentionally over time, no matter what the goal or endeavor for which we want to be excellent.
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I graduated from high school in 1990. In my generation (and this is also true of generations before us), if we were told to do something by a person in a position of authority, we typically did it--often without question. If we were asked to do something, we did it, perhaps out of fear of the consequences otherwise.
Fast forward 30 years, and I have now been in a position of authority with students for nearly two and a half decades as a teacher, coach, guidance counselor, and principal. During this time, I have seen a shift in the student mindset as it pertains to authority.
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[Editor's Note: The following has been adapted from an interview with former teacher and pastor Dave Runyon on the "Navigating Your Child's Education" podcast for parents. Make sure to check out the full conversation here.]