Boarding Report – August, 27, 2015

August 26, 2015

Director of Boarding

-Grow up.- -Act your age.- -You’re not a child anymore.-

How many times have young people heard these words. I was in the park over this past weekend and lost in the art of -‘people-watching’ as I love to do when the opportunity presents itself. A family pulled up to stretch their legs -“ mum and dad assisted the youngest out of the car whilst an unamused teenager, hood up and earphones in, grunted at his father that he was hungry and sauntered off to a swing. His observation fell on deaf ears as both parents centred their attention on their younger daughter. At this time two young boys ran into this idyllic family picture with a desire to both use the one remaining swing. At this point our father called out to his adolescent son to let the boys use both -“ the son feigned ignorance but ultimately consented with a scowl and a -typical- to which his father replied -grow up, you’re not a child anymore -“ the swing is for small children.- This is a scenario that would play out in playgrounds, family situations on numerous occasions but as I strolled back to College it set my mind to our expectations of our boarders but especially our Year 12s. Many whom have turned 18 and as such, by the letter of the law, are most definitely not -a child anymore-. Within the College our expectations are transparent for all, regardless of age, and, for the most part, closely adhered to but what of those occasions that our boys (young men) venture out into the -‘big, wide world’.

Whilst in the hospital, awaiting the arrival of little Banjo, I read a pamphlet -How To Transition Into Becoming An Adult Male-. A-typically I would not offer more than a cursory glance to these -‘self-help’ pamphlets but as I read more I discovered the potential in what was being proposed and thought I would share with you all:

1. Take your time – It will take you the rest of your life becoming an adult. It’s not an easy process that you can map out in a weekend or write down on one sheet of paper.

2. Begin to view your actions objectively. Being an adult means learning to understand yourself and how your actions affect others. Young people are selfish by necessity, adults have to learn to re-prioritise and re-evaluate their needs and desires. The best way to gain perspective is to share your thoughts with others to hear their own opinions.

3. Find a confidante (male or female). Adults learn that best friends may NOT be the best resource for advice. Your friends may be great fun, but they are facing the same challenges as adults that you are. A person who you respect and trust may exist in your life already (a neighbour, teacher) make an effort to ask them adult questions. They may not have the answer – but they will likely be able to help you find the answer yourself.

4. Identify the people you respect. Unfortunately most cultures consider success within a society distinct from success as a person. Look at the people you respect. Are they wealthy, powerful, are they educated, do they have families, do they help others? Make your own decisions as to what is important, and try to be guided by principles that are important to you, such as honesty, courage, and compassion.

5. “Make and Keep your Own Scorecard” there are so many forces acting on people telling them how they should lead their lives and what are the most important things. People who tell you how to lead your life have selfish interests. Look at the people you respect. With the help of a confidante (who is likely a person you respect) analyse what you think makes them successful. Likely it is self-confidence — which is a feeling only one person can give you – yourself. Remember, though, that you can’t fake self-confidence—it’s disingenuous. Do the work you need to do, and the confidence will take care of itself.

6. The ability to laugh at yourself separates the men from the boys.

7. Reach out to those who are less fortunate than you. It’s not just about you.

Whilst I do not prescribe explicitly to all the advice -“ certain elements leapt from the page. Firstly was the realisation that -your actions affect others- and, secondly, it’s not just about you.- We as educators, as you as their parents, are more than aware of the potential pitfalls that challenge our boys, especially our Year 12s. The temptations of alcohol, intimate relationships, to name just a couple, can lead to far-reaching consequences that most certainly affect others and not just the individual. We trust that their education, at home and in school, will stand these tests but realising that there are consequences and that only they can control their actions is an important life-long lesson. We have also desired to instil in our boarders the importance of giving to others as one of the touchstones of an Edmund Rice education.

It has been richly rewarding to write these articles each fortnight to offer an insight into an aspect of a boarding life, to open the doors, both literally and metaphorically, into our boarding community and to offer a reflection on pertinent moments in your son/s life. This article reiterates earlier messages as did the pamphlet hence why I believe it resonated with me. The concept of taking their time, finding a confidante, of having the right people around you and not taking yourself too seriously have all been discussed on previous occasions and, I believe, are the foundations to a successful future. Our Year 12 boarders, as with all our boarding cohort, are reasoned young men but they will face difficult challenges and will need the support of all to assist them as they transition through the different ages. As one author wrote -It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.-

On a more practical note can I alert all parents/guardians to our Term 3 Boarding Parent/Teacher/Student Interviews that will take place at 2.30pm on Friday, 18th September, the last day of term. All information will be disseminated by Ash Knight in the coming weeks.- –

Look after yourselves.

Mike Silcock.