With the holidays almost upon us, the girls are more than ready for a well-deserved lie-in. They have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into so many activities over the last two terms, while committing themselves to learning new skills, developing new understandings and gaining knowledge. As I read through their mid-year reports (accessible next Saturday by logging into the MyMarsden portal), the busy lives led by so many of our students is very apparent.
It can be very hard to juggle everything, and sometimes, something has to give. You may find reference to some hastily completed work, lack of detail or a ball that’s been dropped completely in your daughter’s report – in amongst the positive comments and pleasing achievements. Equally there are topics and subjects she may have found more challenging than others. That is normal and to be expected.
There is a tendency to focus on areas that fall short of our expectations when reading reports, feedback or performance reviews. Our students often do this when they receive an assignment back from marking and we do it to ourselves. Professor Lea Waters, in our Visible Wellbeing training referred to ‘the negativity bias’, where we are ‘programmed to see what’s wrong faster and more frequently than what’s right.’ It is a part of our psychological programming to focus on our own shortcomings, but as parents, ‘it fundamentally compromises our ability to see our children fully by only showing us a limited array of information instead of the whole picture’. Professor Waters reminded us that we have the power to direct our attention away from what’s wrong and to focus on what is going well. She suggests that the best way forward is to acknowledge weaknesses or failures but place more attention on successes. When reviewing your daughter’s report, ‘what if we helped her see how she might apply some of the abilities she’s using to succeed in her other classes to assist her in the one where she’s struggling?’
You can read more about Professor Waters strength-based parenting recommendations here: https://www.leawaters.com/blog/how-to-use-the-strength-switch-to-overcome-your-natural-tendency-to-be-negative
It is a reminder to us all, that we have the power to switch things around and focus on the positive, when thinking about our own lives or the lives of those in our care.
And with that focus on the positive, I wish all of our students and families a happy mid-year break. I hope you have the opportunity to re-charge and re-connect and take some time out for relaxation.
Narelle Umbers - Principal