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avondale school blog



15 March 2019


The dictionary describes success as: ‘attaining wealth, prosperity and or fame’. What is your definition of success? Are you a successful parent? Do you have goals? Have you met the goals that you have set for yourself throughout your life?


Paul Tough writes in ‘How Children Succeed’, “The only major personality trait that consistently leads to success is CONSCIENTIOUSNESS”. A National Institute of Mental Health study found that conscientiousness is the most important factor in finding and retaining employment.


Psychologist Angela Duckworth, from the University of Pennsylvania, found that within conscientiousness there are the narrower traits of self-control and grit. The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health Development study, which has been ongoing for 32 years and is a study of over 1000 children, has determined that self-control is the most determining factor in becoming successful.


I believe there are two main classrooms of learning. The first is the traditional classroom - full of books, white boards, computers, chairs, desks and a teacher. The second is the outdoor classroom where you find very few of the things in the first classroom. There is fresh air, flora and fauna, mountains and running brooks, an abundance of activity, social interaction, wonderful life experiences and an awareness of our Creator, God.


I recently had the privilege of accompanying a group of students and adults who rode mountain bikes from Parliament House to Mt Kosciusko. These people ranged from a school student aged 13 years, to adults over 60 years. They all have learnt many of life’s lessons from the Outdoor Classroom. Here are my top 10:


• To finish is more important than being first. • Problems will always arise so look for a solution or ask for help. • Perseverance is important, so never give up. • GRIT overpowers pain. • Learn from your mistakes and follow the rules. • Look after your body and it will look after you. • Be the best you can be amid all the twists and turns that life will throw at you. • Self achievement is one of the greatest rewards of life. • Ask questions and take on board good advice. • Help those less fortunate than yourself. (These riders were raising money for young girls and women in Vanuatu and also for education of young children in Cambodia.)


For me, every rider was successful because they each had a goal and they had to use self-control, grit, tenacity, perseverance, resilience and conscientiousness to reach that goal. They will never forget achieving their goal in the outdoor classroom.


Benjamin Franklin (the father of time management) said, “failing to plan is planning to fail”. Have you asked your child what goals they have for the future?


Graham Head

Primary Sport Coordinator


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