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

An Attitude of Gratitude

As another year comes to its conclusion, I am mindful that whilst we have made progress in spreading the message about how important wellbeing is, we still have a distance to go. I am aware that members of our community struggle with aspects of their mental health, and I am full of admiration for the bravery of those who speak up and acknowledge that they need help. I cannot feel anything but pride for those in our midst who express their concern for their peers and act in ways to protect and enhance the lives of those around them. And I am grateful that we have so many who are willing to reach out and build connections between people. I am hopeful that we are on the right path and that our world will be better because of the good that begins here at Scotch College.

I am grateful to so many staff, students and parents who enrich my life on a daily basis. In so many little ways, they make me think about issues and explain my viewpoint and smile at each act of kindness and laugh at our idiosyncrasies. They make me want to be a better man, and they make me strive to do what I can to help them be better people as well. As Christmas time approaches, I hope everyone will take time to think about all of the reasons they have to be grateful, specifically the people and things around them. Too often, our negativity bias blinds us to the good that lurks in every corner of our lives. At Christmas time in particular, we should show we care, and express thanks for what we have and for what people do for us, and dream about what the future holds.

I hope the break provides you and your family time to rest and celebrate and do things together, even if that is sitting watching the Boxing Day test match or the start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race on TV. Let your children be bored; let them entertain themselves; let them play outdoors; let them daydream; and let them go without their phone, or favourite computer games, or social media. And, please, let them see you doing the same.

P.S. I will return to Part III of "Resilience and Grit" at the start of 2019.

SchoolTV – Mindfulness

This month's topic on SchoolTV is Mindfulness. I have written and spoken about this several times, and it is something which I consider to be vital for our wellbeing. Over the course of the year, we have been training our staff to give them a better understanding of the benefits of mindfulness for themselves and their students. Junior and Middle School staff have completed training with Mindful Meditation Australia, and in the Senior School, the House Heads have recently done the same. Our students continue to develop an awareness of mindfulness in Wellbeing lessons, pastoral care time and during other lessons, as well as through sessions run by outside experts. The Year 11s have taken part in mindfulness lessons as part of the Leadership course this term. This capacity to train our attention is a critical skill; it enables us to focus on the present without fretting about the future or being plagued by the past. It is a way to push all of the other stuff that fills our heads to one side, like sweeping a dirty floor, leaving room for thought and creativity.

We talk often about wellbeing being the capacity to ride life's waves. There are times when it feels as though we are being continually dumped – we just manage to get up and then the next wave comes crashing down on us. Mindfulness helps to calm that sea; it allows us to see the horizon and appreciate what is around us in that moment.

In 2019, we hope to be able to provide opportunities for parents to become involved in mindfulness training, to reinforce at home what we are working to develop at school. In the meantime, I encourage you to explore this link.

Merry Christmas.

Director of Student and Staff Wellbeing
Mr James Hindle