A Message From The Rector

By Richard Hall | Posted: Tuesday July 26, 2016

Welcome back to term 3. I hope that you had a refreshing break. In that break I trust you have had a chance to recharge the batteries and that you are ready for what lies ahead. Some of your sons have been working in jobs or on the farm, some of you have spent whole weeks in camp or at tournament, either way it has been a break from the classroom.

This term we look forward to a new set of challenges – an opportunity to push the reset button.

As a school we want a growth mind set – the ability to see challenge as learning – to see it not as pass or fail, but as an opportunity to improve. A student or teacher with a growth mind set does not seek failure, they always give 100%, but they do understand that failure is a part of learning and that the learning, and how you face it is the important stuff.

At the end of last term I hosted an Old Boys function in Christchurch. One of the speakers was Richie McCaw. We all know he went here, but I have been conscious not to make anything of that – we are not living in the past but in our present and your future.

I mention him this time not to name drop but rather to pass onto you some of the words that he said that I think relate well to where we are now. We now know of him as the most successful All Black captain of all time, a two-time world cup winner, the only time in the history of the tournament that any country has gone back-to-back.

But in 2007 he captained the All Black’s to their worst World Cup performance, going out in the quarter finals when they were defeated by France. All leadership roles have pressure, but it is fairly well accepted that in this country to be the All Black captain is extreme pressure, the public opinion and expectation is so high. The knockers, those who love to pull you down, are multiplied when you are the All Black captain.

After 2007 McCaw and the team had to rebuild everything, to throw out what they thought was right and to start again. No small thing and in a sports mad country like ours, where winning is expected of the top teams, there is not time to develop.

The first thing they did was to rebuild their mind set, McCaw himself spoke at this event of how he had to not learn to fear the tough moments, but to embrace them – to see them as growth and to in a funny way welcome them. By doing that the team felt that they would not only win a World Cup, but go on past that.

So when the tough moments in matches came, and the tough moments always come, they were ready to face them and to keep calm and to see a way through.

He said that by welcoming those tough times, by almost looking forward to them and by putting a plan in place to see them through, he knew he could accomplish his goals.

The link back to our school from this story is to link back to our five values – respect, courage, honour, excellence and our value of this term perseverance.

To understand what we value about perseverance is to understand that it is about being an OB’s boy – that special bond that you all share. I see that and I wonder how I can get our boys not only to acknowledge it but to act on it.

As outgoing American President Barack Obama said;

Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.