This week, I have challenged the Senior School students to consider the importance of making mistakes. After sharing some of my imperfections, too many to list here, I talked to them about the fact that it is not the mistake that matters, it is what you do with the mistake that makes all the difference.
The pressure to be perfect has never been felt to the same extent by any previous generation. A simple glance at a photo of yourself at fifteen, compared with the perfect images created by our children on Social Media where filters smooth skin and add perfect lighting, only serves to highlight that an expectation of perfection has been created. And perfection, or the quest for its attainment, can be a major inhibitor for success. Allowing adolescents to make mistakes, without rescuing them, encourages them to develop skills in resilience so that learn how to rectify the mistakes; how to apologise, how to take responsibility, how to accept the consequences and most importantly, how to move on.
‘Brave not Perfect’ is one of the mantras I share with students. This TED talk focuses on the need for females to strive for bravery, not perfection, but the messages are relevant for all adolescents.
As we strive for better results across all areas, it is essential to consider the importance of a growth mindset that accepts errors and recognises these moments as opportunities to do better.
A reminder that Sports Day is next week on Wednesday 14 March. This is a compulsory school day and provides an excellent opportunity for students to embrace the mantra of being brave not perfect. Participation, even when not an athlete, provides connection to team and School, boosting wellbeing and health. Students will be dismissed from St John’s Grammar when the buses return, at approximately 3pm.
Deputy Principal and Head of Senior School