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


This year was the fifth instalment of the Big Freeze, an event designed to raise awareness of, and funding for, the fight against Motor Neurone Disease. The event takes place before the Melbourne and Collingwood Queen's Birthday game and, in the lead up to this year's match, Neale Daniher, who suffers from MND, addressed the Melbourne Football Club. His message was important and emphasised many of the aspects we see as central to our Wellbeing and Leadership curriculums in the Senior School.

Neale spoke about his new grandson, what he wishes for him and what he wants him to know. "Life is good, but life doesn't promise to be fair… there will be good times, but there will be hard times. There will be mundane times, life can be tough". This is a notion we have all no doubt heard many times, but the context in which Neale used it is of particular importance as he spoke about conducting ourselves in the right manner when times invariably do become tough.

One of the three pillars of Wellbeing at Scotch is Resilience (perseverance; grit; self-motivation; mindfulness). We are intent on helping students work through failure, disappointment and setbacks. We all experience these in our lives and we all find the going tough. Neale spoke about summoning the courage to take responsibility when this happens, not shy away from it, but instead to do something about it. If we are able to do this, "what will emerge inside you is the better side of your character that will allow you to prevail, allow yourself to move through it". This links in with our Leadership programme, which aims to challenge the students on their journey of personal development. The boys are encouraged to reflect on who they are and who they would like to be, in regards to their morals, values and purpose.

Neale also talks about looking for opportunity in every situation, no matter how tough it may be. Focusing on the negatives, which can be easy to do, can mean overlooking an opportunity to grow. Even in his situation, battling a disease that he knows will eventually take his life, Neale has discovered an opportunity. "My opportunity was to fight and that's allowed me to prevail. It's allowed me to find purpose, to transcend what's happening to me".

It is important to focus on those words, to think about how we might try to implement them into our own lives. We will continue to face ups and downs throughout life, but the better equipped we are to work through them, the more we will find these opportunities and be able to pick the path we want to take, as individuals or as a community. As Neale said, "your attitude in any circumstance, to choose your way, that's something not only to wish for, but to aspire to".

I have included the link to Neale's speech for those who wish to listen to it.