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

What Do We Want for Our Boys?

It's a question I think about a great deal, because the answer to it defines a school and it helps to shape those who attend that school. I want our boys to be curious about and to ask questions of the world around them. I want our boys to know the benefits that derive from working hard; I want them to be passionate about making the most of their life and resilient enough to get back up or find a way through when life gets tough. I want them to realise that they won't always get what they want, and that is okay. I want them to be mindful of others and I want them to be kind. I want them to laugh and to love in a way that is respectful of themselves and others. I also want them to have a sense of what Mary Oliver calls "inherited responsibility". She sees this as residing not so much in measurable wealth, but in making the most of the immeasurable fund of thoughts and ideas which humanity has accumulated. I want them to make a positive difference in the lives of others and I want them to be aware of this obligation.

Instilling all of this in them will make them feel valued, connected and will help to give their life purpose. Academic achievement, financial reward, these things may follow, but are a long way down the list of what I want for our boys.

Maggie Dent sets out five Basic Tools to ensure adolescents are healthy and avoid depression:

  • Loving human connectedness
  • Good nutrition and hydration
  • Plenty of sleep
  • Meaningful involvement and physical activity
  • Laughter and lightness

School and home, working together, provide these elements which are so are critical to living a good life. I hope you get time in the holidays to further reinforce these with your son.

Men's Health Week

Last week in the Senior School, we ran Men's Health Week. For the first time, our Year 11s led the programme, working in their House groups to build activities around the theme of 'Have a Chat'. My thanks to Mr Mark Gale, Head of Student Leadership, for his role in driving and coordinating this. My thanks also to those boarders who were willing to speak at Chapel about their experiences in the Tomorrow Man project last year. Our current Year 10 boarders are taking part in this programme, which is designed to look at masculinity and the impact it can have on us. Please see the article by Mr Marginis on Men's Health Week which is also in this edition of the Thistle.

The Fathering Project

On Thursday evening in Week 7, we hosted Steven Rushforth, from the Fathering Project. It was a fantastic presentation on the importance of male role models in the lives of boys. The presentation is available here. If you are interested in joining the Scotch Dads' Group, you can do so here: . We would like to establish a Dads' Group in each of the sub-schools if we can, and hold some kind of activity or get-together once a term.

Jordan Foster – cyber-safety

On Tuesday 25th June, Jordan Foster, from ySafe, spoke to Year 7 and 8 parents about cyber-safety. Jordan took us through the risks with social media platforms and explained how to make these safer for younger users. An interesting part of her presentation covered gaming and what makes this addictive. This is a topic she had covered with the Year 7 and 8 students earlier that day, and it is something to which I will return in a future Thistle article. Jordan also reminded us of the 'ABC' of technology: control Access; set Boundaries; and openly Communicate – each a critical component in helping young people use technology to their advantage. Jordan has kindly agreed to making the presentation available to parents and it can be accessed through Vidigami here. This will only be available for the next three weeks, so please take some time to watch it over the break if you get the chance. It has some excellent information on how to manage your children's technology. Jordan has also provided us with access to the ySafe Parent Resource, which is a fantastic resource and well worth a look over the holidays:

This month on SchoolTV - Positive Parenting
Maggie Dent and others talk about 'good enough' parenting. Despite the best efforts of parents around the world, the reality is, there is no such thing as the 'perfect parent'. This month's edition of SchoolTV provides some wonderful short video clips and easy-to-read articles on how to establish and maintain a positive relationship with your children. Research shows that one of the most important protective factors in the lives of young people is a close relationship with at least one supportive adult. Setting standards and boundaries, consistently applying negotiated consequences and maintaining positive connection are a key part of this.

Here is the link to this month's edition