As this Term comes to an end, I would like to wish all of the Junior Years parents and girls a very happy and safe holiday. Holidays are a time of restoration and I sincerely hope that you have days to unwind from the busyness of the Term and connect with your family and friends.
This is particularly important as children face a world that is increasingly competitive and comparative. It is easy to believe as report cards are issued that the girls who are successful are better than, stronger than or smarter than they are. According to psychologist Karen Young, the truth is that none of us are born with the ‘success’ gene or ‘happiness’ gene. There are many things that lead to success and happiness, but one of the most powerful is courage.
Courage is a Glennie School value and one that I speak about frequently to the girls.
Behind every success are failures, rejection and unexpected turns. Without exception, there is also courage. Courage to keep going, to find a different path, and of course the courage to start in the first place.
One thing we teach our girls is that courage doesn't always feel like courage. It can feel frightening and unpredictable. It can feel like anxiety or fear. Courage on the outside looks different than it feels on the inside. The reason for this is that fear and courage go together. If there is no fear there is no need for courage. Feeling some fear allows us to take the gentle courageous steps. Sometimes courage only has to happen for a few seconds at a time - just long enough to be brave.
We all want to feel safe and as parents, we don't want our children to feel sad or unsure. Most of the time safe and certain is the perfect place for our children to be, but so much growth happens when we let go, for just a little while. Karen Young suggests, that in order to move through feelings of anxiety, doubt and fear with our children we need to nurture the brave. This can be done by:
Speaking of their brave as though they’re already there ‘I know how brave you are’; ‘I love that you make hard decisions’; ‘We3 can do hard things’.
Give permission for imperfection - failures and rejections are signs that you have done something brave. Only the brave get there in the end. Give your children space for imperfection; it's a growth staple.
You won't always feel ready. That's why it is brave - Let your children hang on while they are getting there. Fan the brave spark until it's time to let go. It won't feel like readiness or certainty and that's why it is brave. Let go, so they know that you believe they can do this.
Try something new- trying new things help to nurture the truth to life that they are strong, powerful, and that they can cope.
Speak to the sneaky, sidelining talk - Let your children know that whatever they might be telling themselves about how much they can’t, they will always be braver than they thought. They can do brave even if they don't feel it, they just have to act as though they are. Their bodies and brains won't know the difference. Brave is brave however much fear and self-doubt is behind it.
And finally … by letting your children face some of their fears and pushing through with courage, you are helping them realise their strength. One of the most important parts of being brave is knowing that somewhere inside of you, ‘brave’ will be there when you need it, whether you feel it or not.
Acknowledgement: Karen Young- Yey Sigmund (Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human)
Mrs Kate Harris
Head of Junior Years