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

Gratitude and the ANZACs

"Feeling gratitude and never expressing it is like wrapping a present and never giving it." - William Arthur Ward

One thing I have tried to do more often as I have grown older, is to be thankful for what I have and what I experience. This is not so much in terms of the possessions I own but the positive relationships I have, the good health I enjoy, the laughter I share and the amazing sights in the world around me. I think it is natural to become more appreciative as we age, perhaps wistfully longing for the things we used to be able to do when we were younger.

Something that has required a little more conscious effort on my part, has been to regularly express that gratitude, directly to the person or people responsible. There are so many people who help me in my role and in my life – help me to be a better person, help me to get things done which will hopefully benefit our boys – and I try to remember to thank them, to let them know that I am aware of what they have done and to acknowledge what a difference they make in my life, even for the small things.

I think the largest barrier to each of us showing more gratitude is that it takes a little bit of time – time to reflect and time to express thanks. Typing an email or, even rarer these days, writing a hand-written note, requires a bit of thought and a willingness to sacrifice a bit of time. But many of the most wonderful moments from my time in teaching have been when I have received thank you notes from students, staff or parents. It is a deeply humbling experience to know that someone cares enough to give up their time and spend it expressing their thanks. The more often we can encourage our boys to express gratitude, the better for them and for our community.

Worry Warts

Whilst in the gratitude groove, I wanted to express my thanks to the cast, crew and staff involved in the Middle School production of 'Worry Warts', which was performed towards the end of Week 10 Summer Term. I did not get a chance to write about it then, but it is wonderful for our boys to have the opportunity to be a part of such experiences and it was pleasure to be a part of the audience.

Harmony Week

In Week 10, we had some guests in to speak with the Year 7s about Autism. I was grateful that these people were willing to share their experiences in an effort to help our boys better understand what it is like to live with autism. This was a part of Harmony Week, where the emphasis is on appreciating and celebrating the differences between people, and the richness and benefits which this brings to our world. I was also grateful to the Year 7s for the thoughtful way they responded to the presentation, evident in the questions many of them asked. We will be expanding this programme in future.

Year 5 Moray Camp

I was grateful to be able to spend a couple of days down at Moray with the Year 5s just before the end of last term. What a fantastic programme they experienced and what a wonderful bunch of boys they are! From crawling through the mud on their Amazing Race, to paddling up and down the river on inflatable rafts, to lying out under a perfectly still night sky that was dripping in stars, the boys were able to share in just a bit of the wonder of our world. Time spent in nature is so important to our wellbeing and our boys are very fortunate to be able to visit Moray as part of the School's Outdoor Education programme. And whilst they might not appreciate it now, each of those activities helps to develop their character. I would like to say thank you to Dan Nelson and the Outdoor Education staff, as well as the teachers who gave up time with their families to be there with the boys.


I was also fortunate to attend the Town of Claremont's ANZAC Day service just before the end of the holidays. It was pleasing to see some Scotch College boys in the crowd, and also for us to have Pipe Major Alex Mallawarachchi (Year 12, Cameron House) playing the pipes and Year 8s, Thomas Gray (David House) and Patrick Hayes (Robert House), laying a wreath on behalf of the School. This day is one of those special occasions where we, as a community, pause to give thanks, silent thanks, for those who have been willing to sacrifice so much for people they never met. Our gratitude is expressed by getting up rather early, often when it is dark and cold. It is in the standing and waiting patiently, it is in the listening to the words that are spoken, and it is in the repeating of the words, "Lest We Forget". In doing so, we take time from our day and our lives to acknowledge the generosity of others, whose names we do not know.

"The more you recognise and express gratitude, the more things you will have to express gratitude for."  - Zig Ziglar