Therefore, this past weekend with my own immediate family, we sat down and watched a little car racing in the name of nostalgia. We landed on the Monaco Grand Prix. The race was actually pretty exciting, full of inclement weather and plenty of crashes. However, what stood out most to me was the phrase the commentators repeated multiple times as the drivers were crossing the finish line: “Race to the finish.” In context, the commentators were discussing an exciting moment in the last few minutes of the race when one driver passed a car on the last lap and only seconds before the finish line.
Their discussions about this last-minute surge and advice to “race to the finish” reminded me of my own daughter’s participation in the Los Alamitos All-District Track Meet this last week. My daughter represented Oak in the sixth grade 200m sprint. She does what many kids and even professional athletes do at a finish line -- she eased up. We’ve all seen those highlights programs where athletes start celebrating a little too early and end up losing the win. My daughter maintained her third place finish through the finish line, but had she “raced to the finish,” pushing at the end with just a momentary burst of everything she had left, she could have potentially overtaken the first and second place finishers.
In both cases, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Los Al Track Meet, I was left thinking about that “race to the finish” and what it means for education as we round that final turn before the end of the school year. For some, the end of this school year means just promotion to another grade level. For others, it means a promotion to another school. For others still, it means actual graduation from K-12 education.
Regardless the next step for each student, they all need to remember to “race to the finish.”
These end-of-the-school-year races aren’t for first place. They, rather, are races to finish strong. For your elementary kids, this might mean mastering their Special Person’s Day song and dance. For your middle school kids, this might mean finishing end-of-year culminating projects. For your high school kids, this probably means finals. We need to be sure to remind our kids that this is no time to ease up on the gas. They need to continue to work hard, fight to achieve, and remain diligent.
Because the end is where character is built.
When we’re tired, worn out, discouraged, or unmotivated, it’s those who persevere that shine. And those who shine feel accomplished. And through that accomplishment, character, self worth and confidence grows.
The finish isn’t an end, then. Rather, it’s a building block, and the stronger the block the more solid the foundation on which a life can be built.
Is the entire race important? Absolutely.
But it’s the “race to the finish” that builds futures.