This week I have worked on being grateful. And I am.
I am grateful that I enjoy my leadership role. I am grateful that I am able to talk with some of the most generous and gregarious people in Dunedin. Our boys are fantastic.
Returning from my Term 2 sabbatical I have been touched by the number who have said it is good to have you back, or how was your break or even just good to see you. It meant a lot.
Being grateful is work, it does not necessarily come naturally. In my position I see a 9 to 1 ratio of complaints to thanks. I understand it, that is in the job description, but I also have started to wonder about its usefulness to us as an organisation and to myself as the leader of this organisation. If I spend 90% of my thoughts, energy and effort in the negative, how does that accumulate to make me a negative thinker? If I spend so much time in that area, how can I be the leader that takes the school forward? How can I see the positive opportunities to make a difference if I am only looking at the negative?
This week in senior assembly I challenged our boys to be grateful, to make it a deliberate part of their thought process for that day. Then I followed up in the grounds - I asked a number of boys about what they were grateful for. The answer, food, the weather (the sun was shining), that they lived in Dunedin and most often, that they had people who cared about them. Not a bad result. I encourage you to follow up on that theme, to tell them what you are grateful about and see how much better it can make us feel.
On Monday, Richie Hardcore will be speaking to our students. It is a continuation of our dedication to showing our boys what a more modern man looks like. Richie does not look like any of the teachers in our school. A retired multiple New Zealand Muay Thai champion, he works as a coach and personal trainer. He comes to us as an educator, speaker and activist working in family and sexual violence prevention, masculinities, mental health and fitness. One of the drivers of this session is that our boys will hear from someone else, but also someone well versed in what a positive modern masculinity is.
I trust our young men to understand the core message, to be able to engage and to reflect on what is said and to take it in. Enjoy your weekend. Good luck to all our coaches, managers and players who have games this weekend. I look forward to seeing you all on Monday.