Heads Up

Welcome to Heads Up, your one-stop source for news about your son’s upcoming activities and events.

Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division

Scott CowieUpcoming Senior Division Dates:

The Future Ties newsletter, the primary source of communication from the University Counselling Office, was sent to IB1 boys earlier this week. As parents, you can review each issue by clicking on the appropriate link in Heads Up

Monday, April 20: IB2 Final Assembly – Laidlaw Hall, 8:30 a.m.
Wednesday, April 22: FY Princeton Review ACT/SAT Diagnostic Test Debrief – Lecture Theatre, 8:30 a.m.
Thursday, April 23, Saturday, April 25: Antigone – Student-Directed Play – David Chu Theatre, 7:30 p.m. (matinee performance on Saturday, April 25 at 2 p.m. as well as evening performance)
Friday, April 24: Jazz Night – Laidlaw Hall, 7 p.m.

I often receive messages from colleagues and parents with articles, videos and other media that relate to the development of teenage boys. I’d like to share two such resources with you this week.

Dr. Power referred to one of them during his address to the boys in Monday morning’s assembly. In an interview about his new book, The Road to Character, author and New York Times columnist David Brooks talks about coming to a significant realization in mid-life:

“You learn the elemental truth that every college student should know: career success doesn’t make you happy.” In midlife, it struck him that he’d spent too much time cultivating what he calls “the résumé virtues” – racking up impressive accomplishments – and too little on “the eulogy virtues,” the character strengths for which we’d like to be remembered. Brooks builds a convincing case that this isn’t just his personal problem but a societal one: that our market-driven meritocracy, even when functioning at its fairest, rewards outer success while discouraging the development of the soul.

(Oliver Burkeman, from an interview with David Brooks)

I think Brooks’ revelation holds just as much significance for us as parents as it does for our children, and perhaps speaks to why many we know may feel disillusioned or dissatisfied at various times throughout their lives.

As a 53-year-old, Brooks’ wisdom may not hold much weight with a savvy teenager, which brings me to the second resource, a 2.5-minute video clip sent my way earlier this week. In it, young boys and girls view images and other media depicting typical male stereotypes and respond to the question, “What it means to be a man?” Like Brooks, the kids in the video recognize the importance of the “eulogy virtues,” citing characteristics like not being judgemental and being caring and kind as true indicators of manhood. Here’s the link to the video.

I realize there’s a certain pragmatism in pursuing the “résumé virtues.” After all, college admissions, work placements and related promotions do seem to be heavily weighted on them. Yet I think it’s imperative our kids understand that most awards and accomplishments we pursue are a means to an end, and that true fulfilment in life can only be attained through fostering and developing strengths of character and by treating others with kindness and compassion.

Thanks for reading,
Scott