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

Head of Middle School

At our last Middle School Assembly I spoke about loneliness.  It is surprising to think in a school setting, where there is a hive of activity, play options and social interaction, that we can identify boys who are lonely.  Boys who desire to be included but just can't find a way to break the ice, to make and sustain the first moves to make friends and be included.  They are boys who need someone to help them out of the blocks and to run with them for a while.

The following is a heart-warming recount of a new boy, full of beans and socially engaged who was on his way to the canteen when he noticed another boy, a boy he hadn't met yet, sitting on his own eating his lunch by himself.  So, instead of continuing on he stopped, came back and sat next to the boy and introduced himself.  He found out he was in another grade and was new as well.  They talked about the book he had on his lap.  After a few minutes he said "I'm going to the canteen now but I'll return and if you're still here when I come back you can come and join me and my friends in our game."  Five minutes later he was back, the boy was still there on his own, and true to his word he encouraged the boy to join in with him and his friends in their lunch time activity.


In Middle School we know the importance of positive relationships, friendships, and how they underpin confidence and in turn engagement and from there a fuller, more optimistic and enjoyable immersion in school life.  We also know that social anxiety is real and comes in a range of debilitating degrees.  What the above story so beautifully illustrates is how easy it is for us to reach out and include someone into our group, into our community.

This story occurred two weeks ago and I've since observed the lonely boy has found and made some friends.  I am frequently in discussion about skills our students will need to make their way post school into a changing world.  I still can't see anything that would displace the ability, and willingness, to smile and to be kind and inclusive to others.