Over the last two weeks I have introduced boys and staff to what I believe to be one of the most important attributes in learning and life itself: imagination. Without imagination, we cannot grow, and we cannot form the steps toward growth and improvement. Without imagination we cannot see our relationships through the eyes of others. Taking this further, without imagination we are not going to revolutionise our economy or save our planet from energy and environmental challenges.
The groundhog day of raising boys can often be experienced in the monotonous repetition of the same low-level engagement or response to adult instructions (a lack of imagination). This behaviour can undermine our faith in boys themselves and their capacity to meet our expectations of excellence. My response to this frequent low level behaviour is to say “I am bored with your response or behaviour, it is the same today as it was yesterday, can’t you give me something different?”
Explaining to our boys that their behaviour or lack of engagement is boring can come as a shock, particularly when they thought their inane joke came from an original thought when it has actually been repeated by others 10 billion times before. Communicating such a message with little to no emotion is often such a surprise to boys. Given how hard it is to catch them being good, sometimes it does come as a surprise to them when they hear us speak without the usual frustrating tone.
The point I am making to the boys is this: without imagination, they will only ever be mediocre. Mediocrity is everywhere. Don’t be mediocre; it’s not original.
The trouble with this challenge for boys is that they often have difficulty actioning their imagination. Creating new habits takes energy. Emerson gives us a tangible pathway to achieve excellence:
Sow a thought, and you will reap an action,
Sow an action, and you will reap a habit,
Sow a habit and you will reap a character
Sow a character and you will reap your destiny.
In reverse: your destiny will be defined by the character you foster, your character will be defined by the habits you embrace, your habits will be defined by the actions you choose to undertake, and your actions will be defined by your imagination – or lack thereof. So, I encourage all boys to begin by defining their first thought today: imagine what they might be and imagine what we all might become.
It is a pleasure to be able to highlight the outstanding efforts of some of our students; students who are building habits of excellence. Jonathan Harris in Year 7 will complete in the upcoming Australian Junior Track and Field Championships in Sydney, representing the state in the Under 14 men’s 800m, and 1,500m, and the 3,000m. I’d also like to congratulate the following students who were selected for the state water polo team: Will Begg (Year 8), Duc Pham (Year 8), Karim Hennes (Year 8), Aleksander Dobrijevic (Year 7), Tom Mestrov (Year 9) and Rory Lethbridge (Year 8) in the Under 14 team and Jack Cleary (Year 12), Nicolas Maddern (Year 11) and Sam Potter (Year 11) in the Under 18 team. The national championships will be held in Canberra in March and April this year. Jack Cleary also has the honour of being the Senior Men’s National League reserve goalkeeper – well done! We wish all boys success in their respective competitions.
Tim Browning, Headmaster