It seems hard to believe that this week is the penultimate one of term two. This time next week our students will be about to start their two-week break. A chance to regroup and refresh. The halfway point of the year. Mid-year exams for our senior students are behind them and school reports are arriving to provide direction for the future. In some ways this season of the School mirrors life. Some days seem longer than others, some colder, others just right. The difference between the shortest day and the longest equates to almost six and a half hours more sunlight. At times students (and indeed all of us) can feel we are in the metaphorical shortest day. That the sunshine has gone away. We suffer setbacks, heartbreak and the vagaries of life. As an educator, I believe one of the most critical skills our children need is resilience. The ability to “bounce” back from such days. But it can be hard sometimes. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote so long ago. “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.”
Great advice though sometimes easier said than done.
Nelson Mandela suggested. “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
Recently at junior netball I heard a parent speak about how much their daughter’s team had improved. Over the season they had gelled as a team, trained hard and improved. They were coached well and embraced the feedback. From regularly being soundly defeated they were now competitive. For students to fail, to try again and again, can be daunting. As Winston Churchill wrote in the darkest days of World War II. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
As we approach this term break, I encourage you all to have conversations with your children about what worries them, what concerns them and strategies for moving forward. How can they have the courage to continue on? How can we as a school help? What can we do to support your children? What can we do to support You?
This time can be hard for our young people. Research shows that 1 in 5 adolescents have suffered or will suffer from anxiety. I am heartened, however by a willingness of young people to recognise this and so often ask for help. As we take time with our families, I hope you have time to talk to them about how they are feeling and to always reach out to the School for assistance. Like the netball team, together we are coaches, manager and the support staff to collectively keep all out players on the court that is life. As Marcus Aurelius also wrote. “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Enjoy the weekend with your families. Take time to breathe. Take time to enjoy. Take time to love.