10 September 2018

Mindfulness, Gratitude, Compassion and Empathy

How often do we have time to sit silently and think? In our busy lives it may not be much time at all. We have to get the kids ready for school, rush to load the car and drive through the morning traffic, try not to yell or scream in front of the kids at the driver who didn't indicate and cut you off… again. Then you have to rush to work or an appointment only to face the pressures and stresses that the end of the day brings.

For children, life can be as hectic. They have to rush to get ready for school, get to class, focus on what is being taught and do their work. Recess comes and they get to play but that can be a frantic, enjoyable pace as well. The time to sit, think and reflect is not always a priority.

For many people their usual mind situation can be easily distracted. It can be reactive where they sweat the small stuff. Negativity, emotionality can be prevalent. We may cling to concepts, ideas or beliefs as truths. Today, an obsession with gadgets can significantly impact on our engagement with others and over all well-being.

Emotions are more powerful than the rational mind. Negative emotions are very powerful. They can stick like Velcro. While positive emotions are often fleeting and can stick like Teflon. But we can regulate our moods.

The importance of being mindful or mindfulness has been discussed in many forums of late but what does it truly mean? Mindfulness is the continuous awareness of the present moment and is accepting and without judgment. It is emotional fitness. When you are mindful you notice what is going on in your mind, emotions and body. You are accepting of this and being mindful will assist you to easily reset yourself to a calm state. It can also assist in making good choices. Mindfulness needs to be practiced for. Through meditation, formal sitting and walking we can train ourselves and our children to reflect and be mindful.

We can get in the habit of being negative, of focusing on what we don't have, on what has gone wrong. Gratitude can be an antidote to this habit and can provide perspective. Gratitude can be a turbo charger for happiness.

Empathy and compassion are one of the most sustainable sources of happiness. We are wired to feel good when we help. Even just thinking of past helpful behaviours can make us feel good.

So what can we do for ourselves and for our children? Take time to reflect on the day. When you collect your son from school ask him to list three good things that happened on the day. It can assist in changing his perspective on the day from one that may be negative. Take time to be silent and think, reset yourself and be calm. It need only be a few minutes per day. Make a list of what we are truly grateful or write a letter of thanks to someone. This can assist us in assessing the importance of what we see as negative and of how lucky we are. Consider how you have been helpful in the past or how you can be helpful. We are sitting on a goldmine of happiness but we just don't know about it.

Mr John Stewart

Head of Junior School

Traffic Management

We have received complaints from local residents and a call from the local police to remind parents that they must not block intersections and roundabouts around the College, particularly the Shenton Road/Stirling Road roundabout. This includes stopping and waiting to be able to turn left into Stirling Road from Shenton Road to pick up your child. Claremont police have advised that they will be policing the road rules in relation to intersections and roundabouts in the coming days and if you happen to be caught, you will be fined. Please show consideration when you are picking up your child and ensure you do not create traffic jams, block driveways, park in places that are not permitted and block access ways.

Saunders Street east of Wright Avenue is not to be used for dropping off your child.

Traffic congestion around the College is an issue for the College with the Town of Claremont and its residents and we ask that you be considerate and courteous to others.