As I sit down to write this blog again, IB exams are two weeks away. Internal Assessment season has just passed. It is a very busy and potentially stressful time of year for you, our graduating students. It seems to me that as a school, we are always trying to help you avoid stress, try to make things easier for you. But is that a mistake? We should actually want you to routinely face difficult situations. That’s how you’ll grow, become stronger. Does that sound heartless? Nietzche said “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger”. But it’s in my nature to want to reach out, try to help you in any way I can. How can I help without taking on your struggles?
The research on resilience says we need to show you, that you have the capacity to work through hard times. Research suggests we provide three factors; caring relationships, high expectations and meaningful opportunities to contribute.
Parents, teachers and friends alike all want to support you in this challenge. It is your last year with us, our last chance to take care of you before you join the world. We all care about how you do. Caring relationships, check. And I don’t think you can be at this school without feeling the pressures of high expectations. Double check. What about meaningful opportunities to contribute?
In my last blog, I talked about storytelling, how everyone needs to sit down and write the story of their life. Let’s write the story now of the end of high school. What do you want to happen over these last few months? What do you want to feel as you walk across the stage at graduation? How proud will you be of your efforts and determination in these last few stages? Once you have established the ending of this great success story of high school, let’s work backwards to make it happen.
Can you take responsibility now for your actions to make sure that this story unfolds? What can you do to help your success? What steps do you need to take now to be sure this future develops? Your work and perseverance now will build your confidence and make you stronger.
Recently in our Grade 12 assembly I quoted Art Williams by saying “All you can do is all you can do. But all you can do is enough”. And now I have another one of his quotes to finish, “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”
“The Tales of the Super Survivors” by David Brooks in The New York Times, November 24, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/24/opinion/tales-of-the-super-survivors.html?_r=0
“Resilience: It Begins With Beliefs” by Sara Truebridge in Kappa Delta Pi Record, January-March, 2016 (Vol. 52, #1, p. 22-27), available for purchase at http://bit.ly/1nArKuR
Konnikova, Maria. “How People Learn to Become Resilient.” The New Yorker. Web. 29 Mar. 2016 < http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/the-secret-formula-for-resilience>.
“Mindset 20/20” by Laura Varlas in Education Update, March 2016 (Vol. 58, #3, p. 1, 4-5), available for purchase at http://bit.ly/1nJFGT5; Varlas recommends Jo Boaler’s website as a good resource for Mindset professional development: https://www.youcubed.org.
“The Meaning of Mindfulness” by Debbie Hampton in The Best Brain Possible
“So Nietzsche WAS right: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, scientists find” in DAILY MAIL, December 2011