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

Enjoying the Moment

When things get busy, as they do just before the end of the year, it is often a challenge to be present and to enjoy the moment. We worry about the work we have to get done, and the deadlines we have to meet. You often hear people saying things like, "I can't wait for this week to be over". We all know that feeling, but it is one I am very conscious of avoiding, because it means we can never make the most of our time and enjoy what we are doing and truly appreciate the company of the people we are with right now. 

Three events from last week highlight this for me – the Year 5 Musical, International Cuisine Day and the Valedictory Dinner.  The Year 5 Musical, "Let the Games Begin",  was an amazing production, particularly given how limited the preparation time was. I was fortunate to watch some of those rehearsals and it is such a great process for boys to engage in – the discipline required to  memorise  lines and songs and stage movements and choreography, and to do all of this as just one cog in a far larger and well-oiled machine. And throughout the process, the boys were forced to live in the moment – to pay attention to what was going on around them and to contribute when required. I am sure, if you had stopped and asked many of them what they were thinking about at that time, or during the actual performance, their focus would have been entirely on playing their part. This is the very definition of flow. And it  was something that was  shared by the audience. Everyone was engrossed in what we were seeing and hearing on stage and the central message – of the benefits of spending time together, face-to-face with others – summed up the entire experience for the boys perfectly. My thanks to  Ms  Samson for her Herculean efforts in pulling the whole show together. 

The second event was  International Cuisine Day . This was run by the Year 11's under the guidance of their House Heads and was one of the most successful we have seen. I was so impressed with the level of involvement and the positive attitude being displayed across all Houses. Again, I am sure if you asked many of the boys where their thoughts were at lunch time on Thursday, they would have been entirely focused on trying to do their bit and contribute to their House selling  all of  its food. Well done to Mr. Mark Gale, Mr. David Jones and the House Heads for their work in facilitating the occasion.

The final event from last week was the  Valedictory Dinner . It is a wonderful example of different parts of our community working together to celebrate the end of school for our leaving Year 12s. Scotch Parents oversee the occasion and their band of volunteers once again did a magnificent job and I thank them for their efforts. They were well supported by our Year 11s (the new Year 12s), who acted as waiters and I thank them for their willingness to serve others in their community. The evening provides an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the contribution of the Leaving class, and to express gratitude.  Staff, parents and students have different things for which they should be grateful and expressing gratitude such as this has been shown to add to our overall wellbeing.

Each of these events involved a great deal of work from a good many people. I am very grateful to have been able to witness and be a part of these and so many other moments this year. Appreciating the moment enables us to be more thankful for the past and more hopeful about the future. Acknowledging and enjoying what we have, rather than what we lack, is a very healthy outlook to have on life and it is one which fits so well with this time of year. I am so grateful for the myriad of minor interactions I have every day of my life with so many wonderful people.

Holidays are a good time to relax and enjoy the moment; to reminisce about what has transpired; and dream about what might be. They are also a good time to refine our routines and I encourage you to help your son to slow down, connect to nature and adopt some more healthy habits in readiness for 2020. He (and you!) might like to consider options such as:

  • Changing his exercise routine
  • Not looking at his phones for the first hour after rising 
  • Reading for half an hour before bed
  • Expressing gratitude more regularly
  • Doing something different
  • Doing the unexpected kind thing
  • Slowing down
  • Contemplating what you can cut out of life

I look forward to seeing you and your sons back at school in the New Year.