27 November 2017

From the Director of Wellbeing

Balance, Perspective and Momentary Forgetting

"Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower." [Albert Camus]

As an existentialist, Camus did not always have the most cheerful outlook on life. However, his words illustrate that there are different ways of looking at the world and taking joy from it. While many lament the end of summer and the approach of winter, Camus provides a fresh view, one seasoned with optimism. This is a perspective that balances the traditional view.

One of the great challenges facing our students - indeed, facing all of us - is to establish and maintain a balance in our lives. I think it is great for boys to try new activities, to better understand themselves and the world around them. Sometimes they find they are over-extended and need to pull back from one or two commitments. Finding and adjusting the balance enables us to keep getting the most out of our lives by regularly reflecting on what we are doing. The 'Work-Life Balance' is a misleading term. What might work for you may not be right for me. Some people may value something more than others and therefore dedicate more time to this. What works for you at one stage of your life may not be what you need at another.

To get a real sense of whether or not your life is in balance, requires perspective. Sometimes, this is difficult to achieve, and asking others for their perspective on things can help. A fresh perspective can provide a new way of seeing - as Camus does above. It can help us to see that things are neither as bad, nor as great, as we might think; it can help us to see that we have become a little lost; and we can be reminded of what is really important to us. Perspective is not that some things become unimportant, but rather that we can better gauge their relative significance in our lives.

In the past two weeks, there have been two activities which have offered some of our students a slightly different perspective on life. In Week 6, a group of Year 8 students and another group of Year 11 students took part in separate Laughter Yoga sessions with Zac Vinten. This is a conscious attempt to remind students of the power of laughter, combined with other mindfulness activities. I was pleased with the way the boys engaged with an activity which was, for many, outside of their comfort zone.

At the start of Week 7, we held the first of our Year 2-12 get-togethers. The boys were buddied up and headed off on a Treasure Hunt, with the 12s struggling to keep up with their wildly excited junior counterparts. This was followed by a breakfast burger. This was an opportunity for all of us to be reminded of the joy of seeing the world as a six-year old does, and to build connection with others - both critical factors in maintaining our wellbeing.

Each of these activities offered students the opportunity to rebalance, to take a new perspective and to momentarily forget the stresses in their lives. I look forward to us exploring more of these sorts of opportunities with our students and staff.

Reminders:

'Surviving Year 12 Toolkit' Breakfast

- There are still some places available for this interactive session and breakfast at Academy Café on Friday 24 March. Please have your son contact me if you think he would benefit from attending.

Tackling Exam Stress

- These sessions will run on Wednesdays after school in Week 9 and 10 of this term and Weeks 1 and 2 of next. Helen Heppingstone will teach participants mindfulness skills which will be of huge benefit to them in dealing with the upcoming exams, as well as other pressure points in their lives. It is aimed at Year 11 and 12 students and there are some places still available. Enquiries should be directed to Ms Cherie Fitzgibbon in the Residence (or email Cherie.Fitzgibbon@scotch.wa.edu.au).

Mr James Hindle
Director of Student & Staff Wellbeing