From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Words of encouragement from Matthew Ch 6 shared at the Induction of the 2023 School Officers

We are committed to helping you help your sons to grow to become resilient, empathetic men, and the measure of your parenting, and our education and support, is not likely to be seen for some years, and probably not until they are husbands, partners, and fathers themselves. For that reason, we talk frequently with them about resilience and help-seeking, qualities that are not only important, but also essential, and that we become stronger and more resilient if we avoid catastrophising difficult life events and making them into insurmountable obstacles. We are also convinced that it is mature and sensible to seek help when we need it. This commitment to encouraging resilience in your sons is because, as adults, we understand there are seasons, there are troughs, and there are challenging times in life. But there is also hope, and joy, and peace. I recall that in 2020, Mr Webster, the Chaplain, gave a similar message to me and my colleagues when he encouraged us in his homily at the staff commencement service that, if life is about maximising pleasure and avoiding pain, it is hard to develop resilience. Adversity and failure are useful and necessary for developing strong minded adults.

This week in Middle School Assembly, Ms Bookluck, Housemaster of Young House, shared her personal story of overcoming adversity. Like many children of first-generation migrant families, she recounted how difficult it was to come to Australia as a teenager and go to school when she didn’t understand English and was the only Asian heritage student. She recounted her feelings of loneliness, fear, and anger. As an adult, she realised how formative that experience was and how it had helped her become the person she was today, a life lesson she wanted to pass on to your sons, and it is an example that we, as parents and teachers, ought to emulate. I recall my own childhood and being surrounded by adults whose stories I knew and whose example I wanted to imitate, and I sometimes worry that with the ubiquity of social media and round the clock connectedness, that our sons and daughters may be being short-changed if they do not hear those personal stories from you and the other influential adults in their life, and instead rely on life advice from their friends (the metaphorical blind leading the blind) or celebrities and influencers (whose best life, whatever that means, seems restricted to their Instagram posts). May I encourage you to never underestimate the power of your example, your advice, and the value of sharing your stories with your children, particularly those stories that have helped you overcome adversity.

Bradley Barr | Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

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