Update from the Dean of Student Life and Wellbeing
In looking for “silver linings” during these difficult times, I have noticed a trend in recent conversations I’ve been having with both colleagues and friends outside the College. As the pandemic wears on, people seem to be more candid about their emotional wellbeing. A few months ago, it was very easy to predict the response to the typical greeting “how are you?”. Nine times out of ten, whether I asked, or was asked the question, the response would be “I’m fine.” Now, however, I find people are more apt to convey how they are really feeling, and there is a certain comfort in this.
In a recent video call, a friend asked how I was doing and I answered him honestly. I told him that I found my emotions were on a bit of a roller coaster ride these days – feeling strength and confidence one day, only to find myself experiencing low energy and uncertainty the next. He responded by telling me he was heartened to hear that, which I thought was strange, until he qualified his reply by saying that his experience was very similar to mine, and that he found his range of emotions varied widely from day to day, and even fluctuated greatly within the same day.
As parents, particularly during times of crisis, it is very important to provide stability and support for our children. But being there for them doesn’t mean we can’t be honest with them. Indeed, being honest with our kids and sharing that we too feel anxious and unsettled will likely make them feel a sense of relief, connection, and purpose. Especially if we let them know how much we care about them, and how much meaning they provide for our lives.
As you may know, last week was Mental Health Week, and “#GetReal” was used by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to draw attention to the need for all of us to open up about how we are really feeling at this time. Here’s a link to CMHA’s website with useful resources and practical ways to address and support our own emotional wellbeing and that of others.
During these challenging times, I encourage all of us to have the courage to be vulnerable, and to “get real” with our kids, and each other.
Some great video resources centred on the idea of perspective and finding “silver linings” were the focus of advising sessions in the Upper School this week. “Wellbeing Wednesdays” have started at the Prep, providing numerous opportunities for primary students to connect with one another while engaging in a variety of different activities. The Weekly Wellbeing Challenge for the Year 6 and Year 7 boys asks them to get some vitamin “N” (Nature) and spend time outdoors, as they are able to, over the long weekend.
Thanks for reading,