10 Jan 2020

Message from the Principal

What could makes us happier and healthier?

Dear Parents

Happy New Year to all our parents and families and I hope that 2020 brings good health and happiness. It was wonderful to see all our students back at school after the Winter break and we have enjoyed a positive first week of term.

With regards to my wishes of health and happiness for the year ahead, I recently viewed a powerful TED Talk entitled ‘What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness.’ The study investigated what keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life. When the researchers asked young people about their life goals, many mentioned wealth and fame as key aspirations. This incredible study watched and tracked the lives of 724 men for 75 years, from the time they were teenagers to see what keeps them happy and healthy. About 60 of the original participants are still alive, and they are now studying the children of these men. The major conclusion from the study was not wealth, fame or material objects that made these men happy.  The answer to good health and happiness in their lives came down to one thing – good relationships.

The key conclusions of the study included:

  • Social connections are good for us, and that the lack of connections to others and community has negative impacts on happiness and health;
  • People that are more socially connected to family, friends and community are happier, healthier and live longer;
  • People who are more isolated than they want to be, are less happy and their health declines
  • It is not just the number of friends that we have, but it is the quality of the relationships that we have;
  • Good relationships just don’t protect our bodies, they also protect our brains and our memory function as we age.

The video not only made me reflect on my own relationships and social connections, but what this could mean for our school and community. It seems that to “be your own remarkable” is built on a foundation of positive human interaction, trust and honesty with others in our lives. Consciously working and strengthening relationships and connections with others and community, is one of the most powerful things that we can do.

It also reinforces the idea that a school community needs to be built on quality relationships and we need to be explicit about how we want to behave. Our KGV School values of Honesty, Courage and Resilience attempt to describe how we want to behave and interact with each other on a daily basis. An open, trusting, respectful school built on positive relationships, is a healthier and happier school.

In our modern lives, it also makes me consider the amount of screen time that we choose to engage in, as adults and young people. Screen time is a great connector, but it seems that the face to face interaction that can follow, is what promotes happiness and health. Hit seems that our KGV ‘Disconnect to Reconnect’ program is on the right track to encourage our students to interact and build relationships during their precious break time each day at school. It may even start to lay some foundations for a happier, healthier and more remarkable life!

Considering the topic of this newsletter, I cannot resist the chance to promote an opportunity to connect and build relationships in our community by attending our upcoming ROAR event on Saturday 8th February from 9.30am to 11.00am in the Learning Resource Centre at KGV School.

ROAR stands for ‘Reach Out, Appreciate, Respond’ in terms of:

  • Reach Out – to our parent community to build connections and seek ideas
  • Appreciate – and celebrate what great things are already happening and how together, we can add value
  • Respond – to the ideas we generate with action and outcomes

To register please click on the link https://forms.gle/3k43TfA4sUoFGUnH8

No promises, but attending the session may make us all happier and healthier!

For those interested in viewing this Ted Talk by Robert Waldinger, this is the link: https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_what_makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_happiness?language=en#t-1075

Kind regards

Mark Blackshaw
King George V