Gratitude and perspective

Wednesday, 01 Sep 2021

There are many wonderful habits we can create in our lives that will set us up for future success.  Purchasing a good quality mattress, as much as your budget can afford, is just one way of making sure that you have the best opportunity to get a good night's sleep.  You spend eight hours a night asleep, it is definitely worth investing in.  As an ex-PE teacher, I always recommend a decent pair of shoes for the same reasons.  

One habit we may not innately be aware of is to take the time to slow down and be mindful of others around us.  As parents, we understand that teaching our children about gratitude and perspective is essential to building empathy and social and emotional skills.  Something we all want for our children to become leads of the future.  

As we enter another week of home learning, it can be easy to focus on the difficulties that arise from such a challenge.  Zoom fatigue is very real, and for our young people, their learning over the last few weeks has been very different to the social interaction they would normally receive from face to face teaching.  However, we need to remind ourselves to slow right down and to be open to noticing all of the little things happening around us.

As I write this article at the end of another perfect Coffs Harbour day, we have so many things to be thankful for in our lives.  In its simplest form, working from home has given us the opportunity to work closer together with those we love the most.  We see the little wins our children have, which would normally be lost in the busyness of a normal day.  We get to see their interactions with their teachers and their peers and the exciting things they are doing in their classrooms.  We get to see the smiles on their faces when they achieve something for the first time, which should never be lost.  

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As we turn on the radio in our cars or the TV at the end of the day, we often hear negativity around us.  The COVID numbers are increasing, violence around the world and uncertainty in our own backyard.  Instead of focusing on this, take the time to sit with your family and focus on the positives that have happened in their day.  It may take some practice, however, the more you do it, the better you will become.  

The Paralympics are a prime example of learning about perspective.  Your child will become intrigued with the difficulty someone with no arms would face on a daily basis.  Ask them to wear socks on their hands for an hour or two and go about their day.  Perspective can come in many forms, we just need to be open to seeing it.  

Australian multi-medallist paralympian, Dylan Alcott, at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Image: courtesy Click on the image to find out more about Dylan's amazing athletic and personal achievements.

Zhiqiang Zhong of China prepares to compete in the men's high jump - T42 final during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Image source: Atsushi Tomura / Getty for Tokyo 2020
Ntando Mahlangu in action during the men’s T63 T61 long jump. The South African won gold, and set a world record of 7.17m. Photo: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Ibrahim Elhusseiny Hamadtou of Egypt serves to Chao Chen of China in their Class 6 men’s singles table tennis group game. Photograph: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters

As humans, our survival instincts often impact our ability to focus on the positives.  This is why we get scared by the hose on the grass, thinking it may be a snake.  Training yourself and your family, to focus on the positives, showing gratitude and to see things from a different perspective will be one of those daily habits you will talk about in years to come, and recommend to everyone around you.  

Richard Smith 
Assistant Principal (Head of Primary) 

Source: Human Performance Resources