The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

From the Head of Senior School


Research professor Brené Brown has spent decades studying courage, vulnerability and empathy and has published several best sellers and given highly acclaimed Ted-Talks on these topics. Her latest presentation, 'The Call to Courage' focuses on vulnerability and bravery, and the importance of opening oneself up, taking a chance and not holding back for fear of judgement from others. Professor Brown discusses the challenges that life throws at us, big and small, and the importance of embracing these experiences even when we feel vulnerable. Accepting this vulnerability and trying to manage the uneasiness that comes with it is important for our growth as individuals. "Maybe in that way, bravery becomes a practice and feels less scary. But I think, I know for myself, every time I'm being brave, I feel scared," Professor Brown said.

We ask our boys to step up and take a chance, to challenge themselves, to try new things and to support each other in doing the same. We know that this will make many boys feel nervous, vulnerable and concerned about how others may see them. For this reason, it is essential that the school environment is encouraging and supportive, where success and failure are viewed as learning experiences and where the boys can build upon their resilience with each new challenge. While this is usually the case, unfortunately, there will always be those who are willing to pass negative judgement on others, and this can often become quite personal. Professor Brown shared her thoughts on this:

"There are millions of cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never once step foot in that arena… But they will make it a full-time job to hurl criticism and judgment and really hateful things toward us. And we have got to get out of the habit of catching them and dissecting and holding them close to our hearts. We've got to let them drop on the floor."

This advice is simple, but for many of us it can be difficult to implement. There are times when we may not want to put ourselves out there, to feel exposed but, in order to grow, we need to, to build our resilience and to experience our lives to the fullest. Within the College, we provide an environment where all students are encouraged to push themselves beyond their comfort zone in order to take a risk because as Brown finished with in 'The Call to Courage',

"Vulnerability is hard and it's scary and it feels dangerous, but it's not as hard, scary or dangerous as getting to the end of our lives and having to ask ourselves: what if I would have shown up?"