In kicking off our assembly speech last week, we decided to do something a little different to show just how important our wellbeing theme of noticing is.
Firstly we asked Ms Uteda to stand up and tell us the meaning of life (great answer with “chocolate” by the way). And then we asked a few students to stand up as well, this time asking them nothing but just allowing a little bit of time to pass before we let them sit down.
Even though all of these people had been worded up about this social experiment, we asked you all to take note of just how uncomfortable they looked.
Now this is a rather extreme and slightly humorous example, but it is a relatively accurate depiction of what real social interactions can look like, and it’s another example of the importance of this term’s wellbeing theme, Noticing.
There are often events in our lives where we or someone else often feels pressured into doing something for the enjoyment of others, say you are taking turns at jumping off a pier into the ocean. Obviously not everyone would be comfortable doing that but may feel obliged to. In large groups, this can be hard to spot, but it’s super helpful if you’re able to pick up on people’s facial expressions and hesitancy and it’s even better if you can address it.
Being able to notice things around you is incredibly important in day-to-day life. It’s powerful. It could do something as simple as help make someone’s day that little bit better, or it could even save someone from serious trouble. When we notice something, we tend to respond to it. If we notice a car speeding down the road as we’re on a walk, we wait until the car has passed before walking on. Or if we notice that a person has changed something about their appearance, we compliment them. If we notice we have homework to do, we take the time to figure out what possible things we can do to procrastinate before getting down to doing the actual homework. The common theme is, none of these things are possible without us noticing in the first place. Obviously these are some pretty harmless examples, but noticing can also be really crucial at times.
About 20% of teenagers will experience depression before adulthood, and about 25% of all teenagers also experience symptoms of anxiety. Statistically speaking, there could very well have been people who are struggling with these issues sitting in the assembly hall when we did this speech. However, people learn to hide these things and to put on a smile despite how they truly feel. Therefore, it’s important for us boys to create an environment where people can express themselves, and so that we boys can keep an eye out and be ready to help anyone who needs it.
Notice when someone needs a friend to talk to, or when someone looks like they could use with a laugh. These small things build up and you never know how much a seemingly small thing can do for someone in a dark place. Bottom line, keep an eye out, keep an ear out, and always check up on your friends and make sure they’re okay.