In this issue:
I hope the year is off to a good start so far. I have been reflecting on the year so far and I have been thinking a lot about how life is full of starts. Starting a race, starting a new job, starting a new school, a new relationships … the list goes on. While how we start something is important and can sometimes set the tone to how well we go along the way, it is not the most important thing. More importantly is knowing how to keep going when challenges arise – because they will.
I always take great encouragement on this topic from the Bible in Hebrews 12:1
‘Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us’.
The key word here being perseverance or in other translations, endurance. The question is how do we help our children develop endurance? Especially in a culture that tends to move so quickly that there is often no time to perfect things so we just give up, especially when things get too hard or uncomfortable? I want to share with you five keys to help you and your children navigate the challenges that will happen along the way this year.
When I was learning to drive I failed four times. Yes, four times! Before my fifth and final attempt a friend of mine (who was married to a police officer), suggested he go for a drive with me to see where I was going wrong, as police officers are often taught specific defensive driving skills. One of the main things he noticed was that I was only looking as far as the bonnet or just in front of me and that day he taught me to look way ahead in the distance to extend my vision to what was ahead or what was coming. As I practised this skill, my driving improved dramatically and I ended up getting my licence the next test I went for. I was reminded again of this tip a few years later during a surfing lesson. Again, this simple little tip of looking beyond just what was in front of me meant I stood up on the board and gracefully rode the wave in, which is amazing for the very accident prone me! The message here is that we can so easily get distracted or discouraged by what is happening around us in the moment but the truth is it doesn’t give the big picture. We can easily trip ourselves up when we forget to look and focus on what is ahead and keep moving forward. Remember that things do not last forever and tomorrow is a new day.
When we don’t fail we don’t learn what we need to do differently. Failing in friendships and relationships, at behaviour, in our school work etc. are all good lessons – as long we learn from them and commit to always improving. When we instead spend time beating ourselves up or allowing these mistakes to define us, we waste time and energy. However learning to accept that making mistakes and learning from them quickly is how we grow and mature each day. Having this mindset can lead us to some of the most wonderful successes in life.
I might be showing my age here but as a child my mum used to read a poem to me called The Triantiwontigongolope. This poem was about an insect with a name that was very hard to say and each stanza of the poem would end with,
So try: Tri, Tri-anti, Tri-anti-wonti, Triantiwontigongolope.
The concept of this poem was an encouragement that when you keep trying, you will eventually get it but if you give up you will never learn anything! Teaching our children to have an attitude to keep trying, learning and persevering until we get “it” shows them life only gets better when we don’t give up – no matter how hard, painful, tedious, boring, costly, frustrating or uncomfortable something is.
Have you been to an indoor trampoline centre? What I love about these places is that anyone can have a go at falling or failing because there is always big tubs of foam surrounding each trampoline. In fact, it almost feels soft and comforting when you fall. This is such an important part of our job as parents – being a safe and comfortable place for our children to fall when things do go wrong. In fact, having a few people like this in your child’s life is really important. When they are accepted, encouraged and guided when they fall and fail, it will help them to get back up and keeping bouncing!
One of the great lessons we learn from team sport is that we only achieve a score or goal when we are all working together. In life when we have people to help us achieve our goal or learn new things, we always go so much further than when we are just on our own. Who are these people in your child’s life? Having this conversation to help them identify who they can reach out to when they need help for whatever reason is key to seeing them persevere through whatever challenge comes there way.
Please reach out to your child’s teacher or the Pastoral Care Team if you need any further encouragement for your children as they learn and grow this year.
Head of Pastoral Care and Growth
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