By Tim Bowden, Head Master
I recently came across the saying “If you can’t get out of it, you might as well get into it.” I think it is a brilliantly pithy articulation of a significant truth, which has particular relevance to our boys but has an equally pertinent application to all of us.
The reality of life is that there are some things that we would not do if we were not compelled to do so. These things may vary from person to person, depending on individual inclinations and preferences, but the fact still remains; there is some stuff that you just have to do. Given that these things are necessary, or mandated, or compulsory – for whatever reason – the best advice that you can receive is, “You may as well get into it.”
When I spoke to the Middle and Senior students about this concept, my particular point of application was a compulsory home game. All Year 7 and Year 9 boys were required to attend the School on Saturday, in full school uniform, and to support the School’s First XV. I don’t imagine that there were any students who would have worn uniform, or attended school by choice on a Saturday afternoon. There were probably many of them who would not have chosen to watch a rugby game as their entertainment of choice. Most of them probably wouldn’t have gone out of their way to participate in choreographed chanting and cheering. However, for various reasons (that could be the topic of another blog), this was required of them.
Given that the boys had to do this, my advice to them was, “You may as well get into it.” There are many reasons why students should get into it. If you get into it wholeheartedly, you will have a better time, the people around you will have a better time, and there is more likelihood that the whole experience will be positive. The alternatives are to sink into a fog of stultifying boredom, or to stew in frustration and resentment, or to commit yourself to evading the activity, perhaps through manipulation, deceit or just painful whinging. None of these things are good for you, or the people around you.
The same point can be made for any of the mandatory activities associated with school. Participation in sport can be done grudgingly, minimally, or apathetically; if so, the participant dramatically reduces the chance that anything good will come out of it. School camps, or cadets, or House chapel services, or homework, are all examples of mandatory activities – which we may or may not choose of our own volition – in which students have the opportunity to determine their own attitude.
In the end, I think that an individual’s attitude will be the most powerful determinant of an experience. It is a truism to note that we get out what we put in. Benefit is proportionate to effort.
Parents of Trinity students have the opportunity to help their sons to frame their experience in this way. From time to time your boy may indicate that he does not want to do something, such as take part in a required school experience. There may be slumping shoulders, trudging feet, exploration of evading tactics, or even straightforward requests for parents to write a note requesting a way out. Your son, the people around him, and the wider community will all benefit from the adoption of an attitude that seeks to make the best of situations through wholehearted effort.
None of this should be taken to diminish the particular challenges faced by any student, which may include a reduced capacity to meet the demands of school life. However, my observation is that we do well to encourage our boys to lean in to challenges and to see required activities as opportunities to embrace, rather than obstacles to avoid.
If you can’t get out of it, you may as well get into it.
At Trinity, we celebrate families and all they do for their children and the community. We believe in working collaboratively with parents and students in a supportive Christian environment to ensure our boys realise their full potential, embrace their passions and find their life’s purpose.
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