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Rafa Nadal, a benchmark in Education in values


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El Diario Montañés, Diario de Navarra, Heraldo de Aragón, El Diario de Navarra, Heraldo de Aragón

Gerardo Castillo Ceballos

Lecturer at School of Education and Psychology

Rafa Nadal's sporting success is due as much to his talent and sporting qualities for tennis as to his human qualities. The harmonious combination of both facets has allowed him to be the issue one. Some of his rivals were better technically, but not in human values. For example, the Swiss Roger Federer is more creative and brilliant, but he does not have the resilience and perseverance that have helped Rafa to win matches that seemed lost. Nadal's human values are a reference in the process of training in values. An IESE professor, Santiago Álvarez de Mon, has turned the Balearic tennis player's professional pathway into a case for training for leaders at business.

These values are the fruit of the Education received from his childhood in the family. Both his father, Sebastian, and his uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, helped Rafa to grow humanely and athletically from his early years. They instilled in him the values of effort, sacrifice, respect, discipline, humility, constancy, perseverance and strength. These were not just theoretical values, but lived values. According to Toni, Rafa has been prepared to resist in difficult moments. As the Spaniard won trophies, Toni tried to keep him humble, using resources such as the following: "don't forget that tennis is simply passing a ball over a network".

Nadal has been awarded on several occasions with the award Stefan Edberg to the most sportsmanlike tennis player. In his speech upon receiving the award he stated that he wanted "to be remembered as a good person, more than as a good tennis player". He was also decorated with the Grand Cross of Naval Merit with white badge in 2020 for his merits and example of self-improvement and sacrifice and because "he perfectly represents the values that a leader of our institution should have: integrity, loyalty, discipline, courage, responsibility and sense of duty".

I think that in a new educational reform the human values of Nadal's professional pathway would be a good reference letter to improve the current Lomloe, given its shortcomings in Education of values. It is a law that eliminates the culture of effort, such as test that one can pass a course with several failed subjects. What subject of effort will the students make if they previously know that the failures will not prevent them from passing to the next course? And where is the prestige and authority of the teacher?

The Lomloe is aggravating the worrying rate of school failure in our country. We need to return to the culture of effort. Larry Bird, great NBA player, explained it this way: "It's funny, the more we train, the luckier we get".

The new compulsory and supposedly formative subject introduced by the Lomloe from primary school, Education in civic and ethical values, is made to the detriment of the previous one, which was Ethics, and of the subject of Religion. It is the equivalent of the Education for Citizenship of the Lomce, with the same ideological load and purpose of indoctrination. In addition, it confuses values with notions and desires on issues far from the schoolchildren's experience. For example, "the sustainability of the environment or the understanding of the social coexistence framework ". In this context, can another Nadal emerge?

Parents and teachers should present effort as something positive. For example: it is natural to make an effort; what is worthwhile is what it costs; life is a problem and struggle is the essential condition for success; the greatest satisfaction is a well-deserved rest. For Eugenio D'Ors, "there is no Education or humanism without the exaltation of effort, of tension in every hour and every minute". That is why he proposed "rehabilitating the value of effort". A quality teaching must be based on the core concepts of effort, merit and content.

Moral values are those qualities that attract us, take us out of our indifference and transform our lives. But for them to emerge and develop, complicity between educator and student and an atmosphere of unconditional love and continuous coexistence are necessary. This is precisely the family environment, where values are transmitted as if by osmosis.