16 October 2017

Willpower

Last Saturday, twelve Year 12 Keys House boys walked into Albany to finish the 1003km journey along the Bibbulmun Track that started in Kalamunda when the boys were in Year 8. Accompanied by Scott Siekierka and Shawn Brogden, the boys stepped into Albany to be welcomed by parents, staff from the boarding house and a sea of purple balloons and streamers. To have walked the full length of the Bibbulmun Track speaks volumes about the boys' resilience, determination and willingness to accept challenge - qualities that will serve the boys well throughout life.

Bib track

Experiences such as the Bibbulmun Track provide valuable opportunities for the boys to develop a vital quality that is becoming increasingly rare in today's world. This quality is willpower. How much easier would it be to sleep in your own bed rather than on the ground, eat a cooked meal prepared for you and not carry a 20 kilogram bag 70 kilometers through the bush? When boys arrive at the boat shed at 5.30am, dive into the pool at 6.30am or attend any of number of music rehearsals, sport trainings or pipe band rehearsals before school starts each day, they are demonstrating willpower in abundance.

Decades of research show that willpower or self-control is a strong predictor in future health and wealth. In fact, willpower has a greater influence on financial success as an adult than IQ, family wealth or social class (Moffitt, et al., 2011).

In a society where instant gratification dominates - for example, sales slogans urging us to buy now pay later, no deposit interest free, or easy monthly instalments - willpower and restraint suffers.

I congratulate all boys who have accepted challenges this term and are working to overcome them. The boys are developing qualities that will serve them well throughout life.

Finally, I encourage families not planning to attend the PSA Swimming Championship at HBF Stadium this Thursday night, 10 March, consider attending the Choir of Hard Knocks performance in the Dickinson Centre. The Choir of Hard Knocks comprises homeless and disadvantaged singers from across Melbourne. This wonderful initiative became the subject of a five-part television series on the ABC. Jonathon Welch, founder and choral director, went on to create the School of Hard Knocks in 2012 and Social Inclusion Week in 2009. He is an inspiring Australian whose work has been acknowledged with his appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia and the winner of the Australian Local Hero Award as part of the Australian of the Year Awards in 2009. Jonathan spent time at Scotch College last year working with boys in the Scotch music and community service programmes before an evening community presentation.

Dr Rob McEwan

Head of Senior School

Moffitt, T. E., et al., (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth and public safety. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 (7). 2693-98.