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16 Sep 2016
Those who know me know that I love reading works by the Stoics. Recently it has been Seneca, and his encouragement to have goals (“if one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable”), to his insistence that we live in the moment and enjoy each day as it comes (“true happiness is… to enjoy the present without anxious dependence on the future”).
There has been a fairly relentless cacophony of negative, traumatic and sad events around the world in recent months. And our girls are subject to a largely uncensored flow of violent and graphic images, dogmatic opinions, and offensive language streaming onto their phones and computers. The challenge is that it is largely one-sided.
There is an enormous amount of good happening too – wonderful acts of kindness, examples of strong leadership, and friends who rally in tough times and provide a great source of joy in the ordinary day – but it is easy to miss these moments.
As adults, part of our role is to check in that our young people are travelling okay. They might look like they have it altogether but this is not always so. We need to check that they are aware of what is going on in the world but not overwhelmed by it. That they are spending time refuelling, and taking care of themselves, surrounding themselves by good people who lift them up and don’t drag them down.
When I speak to the girls, I ask them to imagine a giant fuel tank inside of them, and then ask what they are doing to refuel. Refuelling is different for every person. For some it is spending time at home in Ugg boots, in front of the heater. For others it is going out with friends. For everyone, doing something physical (as we are physical beings) and doing something creative (in whatever form you choose) are acts of refuelling.
Children and young adults are not an endless source of energy. They need to do things that work for them that help them refuel. A significant part of this includes doing nothing, having down time, and simply resting.
Every second week, we hold Reflective Friday, where the girls have the opportunity of engaging in refuelling activities. Some are learning how to crochet, some are meditating, doing yoga, colouring in, ceramics, and walking – just to mention a few activities.
Ultimately young people, like all of us, must learn to regulate their own energy levels so they can do what they need and love to do.