LETTER FROM OUR PRINCIPAL
“From teaching for the past 13 years, I’ve run across a huge variety of kids,” writes Skavnak on his website, thehappiestgolfer.com.
“There are quiet kids and loud kids, athletes and non-athletes, smart kids and happy kids and competitive kids. You name it, I’ve seen it.
The cool thing about all these kids is that it’s all okay.
They are all kids who just want to be happy.”
What I never noticed was the name attached to the quote: Bryan Skavnak.
Bryan Skavnak calls himself “the happiest golf professional in Minnesota.” He has helped thousands of golfers (and non-golfers) succeed by learning how to improve relationships.
Our goal as adults, as teachers and as parents is not to raise good athletes or students but to raise great people.
None of the concepts Bryan Skavnak share are all that groundbreaking; most parents strive to teach their children to use manners, do the right thing, embrace their talents and find their interests.
Schools across the world so vehemently embrace his message, perhaps it is in direct opposition to the barrage of messages telling us that personal wealth and success is more important than personal happiness and more importantly, the happiness of others.
According to the World Happiness Report (yes, that’s really a thing), South Africa has been ranked as one of the unhappiest countries in the world, coming in at 106th out of 156 countries surveyed. South Africa has been placed behind other African countries such as Ghana, Cameroon and Congo.
The report shows that over the past decade we have become pretty dissatisfied with our overall life satisfaction. Between Stage 4 load shedding, corruption, late trains and everything else, perhaps it’s not that much of a surprise.
The rate of antidepressant use has surged 400 percent over the last decade. We continue to zone out on gadgets, get too little sleep and live unhealthy lifestyles.
When you see a fellow classmate that doesn’t seem to have any friends…go talk with him. When you see the girl who dropped her books…go help her pick them up. When your teacher asks a question that you know…answer it. When your friends are doing something you know is wrong…walk away. Go to school every day and see if you can make someone else in your class smile. Make someone else laugh. Make someone else feel good.
In 2020 I will be asking the question often to staff and learners, “What did you do to make someone else happy?” And I am going to be ready each day with my own reply.
The children are watching and listening to us.
They notice our choices.
Quotes on a wall are a great start.
An even better start would be to lead by example.
I am sure you have seen the quote dozens of times posted on social media, the one on the wall in front of our school’s library:
“Some kids are smarter than you.
Some kids have cooler clothes than you.
Some kids are better at sports than you.
It doesn’t matter.
You have your thing, too.
Be the kid who can get along.
Be the kid who is generous.
Be the kid who is happy for other people.
Be the kid who does the right thing.
Be the nice kid.”