St Peter's is Helping Grow Resilient Boys

  • February 25, 2016 | Rob Macaulay - Headmaster

Education is as much about failure as it is about success. In order to achieve our goals we must suffer a degree of discomfort and we must “knock the bar down” before we jump over it. If this were not the case, our journey towards becoming better educated would simply be a rite of passage and we would not be able to take true pride in our achievements.

As I watch our boys grappling with challenges in the classroom, practising their music or sport or even just coming to grips with the daily demands of social interaction at school, I celebrate the attitude of resilience and “bounce back” that is evident in their characters. The majority of our Grade 7 boys are currently attending interviews at prospective high schools and the feedback that we are getting is that it is this resilience and strength of character that makes a St Peter’s boy such a strong candidate for selection in an extremely competitive market. The following short story shows how being challenged and overcoming difficulty is actually healthy for one’s character and even physical development:

In the North East USA, codfish are a big commercial business because there is a great demand for them all over the world, particularly in countries far away. This distance from the markets caused the fishermen and the shipping companies serious problems. At first, they froze the fish and then shipped them, but they found the freezing process took away a lot of the flavour of the fish. So they decided to send them live in big tanks of seawater. This was even worse because it was very expensive, the codfish still lost its flavour and, on top of it all, the flesh became soft and mushy, losing all its texture. Eventually, after much experimentation and research, a solution was found. The codfish were placed in the tank of water along with their natural enemy, the catfish. From the time the codfish left the USA, till they arrived at their destination, the catfish chased the codfish around the tank, keeping the codfish active, healthy, firm and full of flavour. Life is also like this. Difficult times will always come your way and it is up to you to face the difficulties and to overcome them. In this way, you will become stronger and more able to face the next problem when it comes along.

I know that we are not codfish, but I believe that we do have a lot to learn from the story. As adults and citizens of our country, do we celebrate the challenges that we face? Do we encourage our boys to think big, fail and then try and try again?  It is through the modelling of the attitude of “fall down three times but get up four” that we can continue to grow, not only our boys, but also the environment in which they live.