June 2, 2021

Rector’s eNews – 02 June 2021

/ Rector's eNews

I wrote recently about Sibongakonke Buthelezi preparing to be discharged from hospital; this took a little longer than expected, but some good news is that, after 74 days in hospital, he has been able to return home to convalesce. It has, doubtless, been a harrowing experience for him and his family, but we look forward to his return to East and to Michaelhouse when he is ready to rejoin us.

A number of parents and Old Boys have spontaneously assisted the Buthelezi family in a number of ways and the family is immensely grateful for this at this difficult time for them. This is Michaelhouse “at its very best”.

Siyabonga and his team of doctors and nurses bidding farewell – note the blazer!

After my letter to you on Monday, I am resisting saying too much about the pandemic, right now, other than to comment that the situation remains fluid with some 18 boys returning from isolation and others having tested positive and having to go into isolation. At this stage, it seems clear that the “third wave” has arrived across South Africa and that we will certainly be asking all boys to be tested prior to their return in the 3rd quarter, but I will make further comment on this in later emails.

I am now about halfway through an overview of The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Teens and commenting on aspects of these. The fourth Habit relates to thinking in a win-win fashion. The essence of this revolves around establishing an integrity in one’s association with others: boys in their early teens tend to jostle with others for being “top dog”, whilst older boys perhaps see that they can co-exist happily with a range of people and respond in a more mature way to “triumphs and disasters” by establishing and investing in relationships, whilst still being competitive with each other.

There is no doubt that people are competitive and that society has created competitive institutions – at school, in sport, at university, in business and in every walk of life we are encouraged to be better than the next person or team or company. The dux gets the prize. Whilst competition is generally very healthy because people are challenged to improve and stretch themselves, it becomes unhealthy when individuals feel that they can only gain any respect from others and a feeling of self-worth by winning or being the best. Every single day teenagers world-wide are confronted by social media and other sources which have made them unwittingly, perhaps, compare themselves constantly with others who are more talented, wealthier or better-looking or more intelligent than they are. This has led to a whole generation of teenagers being counselled for depression when the only really valid comparison is for young people to compare themselves against their own potential.

We are told that there are four ways of thinking:

  1. Win-Lose: a person may like to get his own way without considering others and such a person may become envious of others when something good happens to someone else. This person may well get to the top, but he will be lonely and have few friends. People will be waiting to topple such an individual from his perch.
  2. Lose-Win: this is another dangerous attitude; it is not frequent in teenage boys, but entails giving in to the wishes of others and being a doormat.
  3. Lose-Lose: sometimes when two win-lose people get together, the outcome is that they both lose. Sometimes, boy-girl relationships which begin as win-win situations deteriorate into lose-lose as each makes derogatory comments about the other in a break-up while their contemporaries look on.
  4. Win-Win: you care about yourself; you strive to be the best that you can be, but if you don’t win this time round, you congratulate your opposition, knowing that you are setting the example for your opposition to do the same to you when you, inevitably, have your moment of victory.

It is in this last paradigm that we are all encouraged to operate.

Read the full Rector’s eNews here




















Copyright © 2024 Michaelhouse. All rights reserved.