Good reasons for embracing challenges
By Annette Ware, Dean of Senior College
Challenges are an important part of life and have many benefits.
- Challenges during teenage years prepare a person for the adult world. They foster a belief that obstacles are a normal part of life and that one can manage them and come through them, often being better for having had the experience. Hard times stimulate growth in a way that good times don't.
- Facing challenges and navigating one's way through them builds resilience capacity. Knowing that one can overcome obstacles, learn from struggles and benefit from mistakes lays a solid foundation for success in later life.
- The presence of challenges in one's life often requires working with others or at least drawing support from others to come through them. This is a good thing. As John Donne said, 'we are not islands unto ourselves'. We live in communities and we flourish best, not as isolated individuals, but as people embedded in supportive communities. Facing challenges forces us, in a helpful way, to work with others.
- When challenges are faced and conquered, there is a wonderful sense of accomplishment. It is often the substance of great memories and the motivation for rich story telling. In contrast, a smooth experience, devoid of challenges, runs the risk of becoming routine, predictable and entirely forgettable.
Last week, our Senior College girls had many opportunities to grow through challenges. As I travelled around Sydney with our Year 11 students on their Urban Challenge, it was wonderful to hear comments like: 'It was hard but satisfying,' 'We all worked together,' and 'Our year group will be so much closer because of the way we supported each other.' There was fun and laughter along the way and many fond memories have been made for these girls. Year 11 concluded their week by participating in the Rotary Youth Driver Education program on Thursday and cheering on our swimmers and divers at IGSSA on Friday. Even our Year 12 students did not miss out on the benefits of facing challenges as they completed assessments in most subjects last week.
Help your daughter to embrace challenges. In doing so, she may well become the kind of young adult you want her to be.