The World Health Organisation defines wellbeing as:
“A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”
The last few months have certainly tested our ability to survive in all the aspects of the above quotation. We have been faced with a completely new challenge which has made life difficult in any number of ways. My personal experience is one which demonstrates this perfectly. In early March I was looking forward to enjoying my last term at MCM after eight very happy years in Malaysia. In a physical sense, I was putting plans in place to straighten out all my affairs while mentally I was preparing myself to say goodbye to pupils, colleagues and friends of many years. Socially I was looking forward to one, or maybe even more than one, leaving party.
For me all that changed on the 8th March when I crashed my bike and broke my pelvis in two places. It meant my early departure back to Scotland to the loving care of my wife and an early start to lockdown enforced initially not by Covid 19 but by my injuries. More than two months on, I am still in Scotland and still in lockdown. During those two months we have all learned a massive amount about ourselves, our relationships with the other members of our family and also how to value those around us.
Everyone has found it difficult but some have faced more challenging times than others be this financially or emotionally. Thankfully, very few in our community have had to deal with the physical effects of the virus. Our recent pupil well-being survey showed that most of the pupils valued the time they were able to spend with their families and also the independence they felt in organising their own time and learning a little more. They also thought that the lack of distractions and help given by their parents were an aide to their learning experience. Yes, there were downsides as well, with the missing of friends being the top reason for not liking the College closure and one pupil remarking that “my mum keeps telling me to work when I want to play” but the overall tenor of the responses was a positive one.
One Issue which has not gone away and has been clearly highlighted during the MCO has been children’s use and misuse of the internet. Some have revelled in the different climate but others have found it difficult to separate time given to study and time given to other pursuits such as online gaming. This is nothing new but has certainly been one of the challenges facing parents during this time. Your endeavours are very much appreciated by the teaching staff and will ultimately produce rewards despite the short term pain.
“Texting is a brilliant way to miscommunicate what you feel and to misinterpret what other people mean”
The above quote sums up an issue for children and adults alike and one which is amplified when we are forced to use it as our main source of communication. I think we will all have a better understanding of this once we are freed from the confines of the MCO.
What are the positive things which have been highlighted during our period of confinement
- firstly a better understanding of the value of family and the things which bring the family together. Many pupils have been more willing to help around the house
- The importance of kindness and helping others who might normally go unnoticed
- The importance of staying active. My waist measurement is testament to that
- The importance of music and literature
- The recognition of our inner strength. We are able to overcome much more than we had previously thought
- Everyone has learned new depths to their independence and adaptability
- The importance of routine and how it influences our daily work
- “Me time” has been highlighted as a crucial support to our personal well-being
- It’s Ok to feel sad or worried and there is always someone close by who will be willing to listen
The College must acknowledge the very positive role played by the parents during the MCO. While coping with a myriad of issues in their personal and professional lives they have been strong, supportive and loving towards their children and made the job of the beaks at MCM a very much easier one.
I started with a quotation and I will likewise finish with one.
“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it is our job to share our calm not to join their chaos”
Geoff Anderson | Deputy Head Preparatory School (Pastoral)