Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division
Friday, Oct. 20: Stewards’ Dance, David Chu Theatre, 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 23: Special assembly speaker for Movember, Laidlaw Hall, 10:05 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 24: Prep and Upper School professional development afternoon, early dismissal, classes end at 1:10 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 24 to Friday, Oct. 27: Year 12 CanGrad photos (by appointment)
A number of years ago, I came across an article in The New York Times titled “Teenagers, Friends and Bad Decisions.” With the number of student social events occurring during this time of year, including our Friday Night football event last Friday and the Stewards’ Dance tomorrow, I took pause and reflected on that piece again earlier this week.
The premise of the article was centred on how teenagers take more risks in the decision-making process when they’re with their peers. This may not be considered a very profound conclusion, but the data from the study conducted was very convincing. One of the experiments referenced in the piece had young adults playing a video game that simulated a true to life driving experience. The results from the simulation consistently revealed that the participants who were driving made poorer decisions, and ultimately placed themselves in greater jeopardy, when they knew they were being watched by their peers. The statistics were quite alarming: those who were told that their friends were observing from another room ran 40 per cent more yellow lights and had 60 per cent more accidents than those who thought they were playing by themselves and weren’t being observed. Unfortunately, as conveyed by the article’s author, “the study results are borne out in real-world data that show teenagers have a much higher risk of car accidents when other teenagers are in the car.”
Laurence Steinberg, the author of the study referenced in the article, provides a meaningful and relevant message to all parents: “The lesson is that if you have a kid whom you think of as very mature and able to exercise good judgment, based on your observations when he or she is alone or with you, that doesn’t necessarily generalize to how he or she will behave in a group of friends without adults around. Parents should be aware of that.”
Tomorrow night is our annual Stewards’ Dance. It’s an event that’s always well-attended, as many Senior Division boys look forward to socializing with their peers in a co-ed environment. The vast majority of the boys exceed behavioural expectations while at the dance, yet there are often some whose conduct crosses the line of good judgment and they become subject to the College’s disciplinary response.
Whether or not your son is attending the dance this Saturday, I encourage you to speak to him about getting wrapped up in the emotional tide of his peers. In the face of peer-pressure, being disciplined, exercising restraint and having the courage to stand up to friends when needed may not seem like the traits of “the life of the party,” but pursuing these virtues will ultimately help develop an important sense of confidence and shape strong character.
“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”
Thanks for reading,