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St Peter's 13-18

7 February 2020

As this is Childrens’ Mental Health Awareness Week, I was looking at some of the resources available to schools and was struck by the theme ‘Find Your Brave’ which recognises that life is full of challenges and includes taking small brave steps everyday whatever your age. Being brave means different things to different people at different times and it isn’t about coping alone or holding things in. Bravery is about finding positive ways to deal with things that might be difficult, overcoming physical and mental challenges and looking after yourself.

That can be small things or great things.  For some of you it will have been taking part in the House Cross Country Competition on Monday – and well done if simply completing it was your achievement.  Each week in assembly we celebrate the achievements of individuals and groups across a hugely diverse range of activities but there is also much that goes un-noticed and that is where it can be very important to notice in ourselves the times when we take something on where we don’t feel fully confident, or give something new a go. 

It is really important in life to spot these moments and see them as the achievement they are whether they make it onto the list for Assembly or whether they sit in our memories as something which made us happy, proud or perhaps just relieved.  Saying ‘well done’ to ourselves and noticing when to say ‘well done’ to others as well is a really important ability in life.  Some achievements will always stand out as being significant but the accumulation of the smaller achievements is very important in helping us maintain and develop positive mental health.

Last weekend I was in Cornwall at a family funeral and on the Sunday morning my oldest cousin was determined that we were going to go swimming in the sea at one of our favourite beaches.  I can’t pretend I was much looking forward to it as my preference these days is for the warm waters in the sea around Greece during the summer but as the youngest cousin I wasn’t going to pass up the experience.  So in we went without wetsuits, and it was certainly cold but after five to ten minutes it did feel absolutely fantastic and the happy glow is captured forever in the photos we took afterwards.  Thirty years ago today, I was in the Lower Sixth at school and feeling fairly anxious and unconfident as I was plucking up the courage to ask a girl to go out with me.  Thankfully she said ‘yes’ and we are still together all these years later. 

Neither of those experiences is going to go on my CV but along with a whole host of other memories they are just as important as the big events in my life at giving me a sense of confidence and optimism.  So whatever your ‘find your brave’ moments have been this week – well done on them and make sure you say well done to yourself and others too.