Dear KES Family:
The faculty meets briefly every morning at break to share in a cup of coffee, some light conversation, and announcements. We may bring up a student issue or performance but more likely those conversations are held on Wednesday afternoons when we all get together for that express purpose. As we went through our individual student concerns this week, one of our teachers related a student response regarding an assignment that was not completed. I may not have the wording exactly correct but the response was a polite, “I am sorry I don’t have it done but to do so would have required an effort that would compromise my wellness.”
Ten years ago this kind of student excuse would have produced peals of laughter. “Wellness” would not have even been considered a proper word, let alone a state of being to protect. This week my own, and the faculty’s reaction, was subdued and thoughtful. After all, we try and take wellness seriously here. There was not one of us in the room who has not, at some point, so been overwhelmed with life’s obligations that we knew any more work would compromise our wellness. Normally, we would say we were too busy to finish, or we were too tired to get our work done. However, wellness describes a balance between physical and emotional and mental health. I would never want it to be an easy excuse, but the reality is that there are times in our lives when we simply have to say “enough” or “Stop, I cannot do anymore”.
To paraphrase Robert Frost, we all “…have promises to keep, And miles to go before we sleep.” Sometimes the woods are invitingly “lovely, dark, and deep” and all we want to do is rest and sleep and forget our labours. There are times when, if we don’t rest, we won’t ever have the energy to finish the journey and fulfill our promises. Part of a good education is discovering what you can do and what is simply too much. Part of a good education is gaining an appreciation for one’s limits, and learning how to maintain balance in one’s life. I love teenagers to achieve more than they ever thought possible, but I also recognize that our “Be More” philosophy creates a “Do More” environment. Sometimes more is too much.
Good coaches and teachers demand a lot from their athletes and pupils. It was Robert Browning who wrote that “Man’s reach should exceed his grasp”. I agree. Sometimes, though, we need to have a firmer grip on reality, take a break, and gather our strength for the rest of the climb. It is a skill to know when.
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