The Last Word

By Jack Fisher | Posted: Monday June 3, 2019

With my school career at Otago Boys ending in a mere few terms, I can still remember the day that I walked through our schools archway for the very first time and instantly being filled with pride.

150 years of history and traditions to follow with your new brothers helping you out along the way. With this in mind, I thought about what I could possibly pass onto you from what I have seen or learned since I’ve been here.

Firstly, be thankful for all of the opportunities and countless hours of running around that your family, friends and teachers do for you. You may not think about it but these people sticking by us and caring is the reason that we are all growing on our journey through life. I personally don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for my mates and family. For all the hours of extracurricular activities that your parents support you at, the never ending pile of schoolwork that your teachers help you get through or maybe even just someone to talk to when you aren’t having the best day, even a small thank you goes a mile. Whether you shout a mate a rice ball or tell your parents how much you appreciate what they do, I guarantee that you will make their day, because believe it or not but the people special in your life want to see you thriving and will feel great after understanding how much you really care. It’s not just a one way street boys, and you’ve got to realise that others need the same support that they so selflessly give to you. I know for a fact how easy it is to become short sighted and forget to acknowledge people around you in times of stress or hardship, but to sit back in a quiet time during the day and just think about all that you have to thank for isn’t a hard task. Simply take a mental note and remember all you have to acknowledge throughout your life.

Lastly, while acknowledging others is great and is a valuable skill to learn, you cannot forget about yourself and your own well-being. With the common stereotypes that all boys are tough and thick skinned, it is easy to forget that men have a high rate of mental illness, and teenage boys are on average the most susceptible. It is easy to forget the pressure that we as teenagers are put under. It is easy to not realise that your mates could be struggling with their mental health. Growing up isn’t easy and can sometimes seem downright scary but the most important thing you can do is remember your worth and how much you mean to the people around you. With a staggering 1 in 6 men struggling with common mental disorders, communicating what’s going on in your top two inches is a crucial skill to learn, as it’s not always easy to be that brave. I still see boys walking around school with the I Am Hope wrist bands on and it makes me realise that there are so many people at our school who would be happy to have a yarn if you are feeling pressure of school work, or are just stuck between a rock and a hard place. After over a year since Mike King talked to us, I still wear mine just so people can realise that there is always someone in their corner.

To finish, don’t forget your roots and where you are now. There’s a lot of people that deserve thanks who will lay it all on the line for you, and never forget that you’re an OB’s boy, which means you have 800 brothers all ready to pick you up if you fall.

As said by Michael J. Fox, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”