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Ninja WARRior

There was a discerning silence in my house on Wednesday night last week. Channel 9’s underdog masterpiece had finished! No more Ninja Warrior! What to watch; laugh at; admire and cheer for? My six-year-old son was obsessed with the program, recording it at night and watching it again the next morning.

In addition to the clear physical achievements, the program also highlighted the significant mental strength and perseverance that these men and women must exude. Faced with up to 18 different obstacles, all requiring different talents, approaches and luck. It’s no wonder that so many failed despite months of preparation!

Metaphorically, similar challenges face contemporary school students. Take our Year 7 boys for example – required to embrace and succeed in 11 different curriculum areas across a year. What organisation, commitment, patience and ability they must prove! And just as in Ninja Warrior, when they pass, we throw even harder obstacles in their way. Tougher work programs, longer essays, subject specialisation and external exams become obstacles as they move through Middle and Senior School. Furthermore, failing does not always result in a soft, padded fall into a pool of sparkling water. It can be demoralising, path obstructing and bitterly disappointing.

As a school community it is imperative that we act as supporters and mentors for our young men when they take off on their own obstacle course. Not only must they jump through subject hoops, but also encounter trends in education including cyber awareness, friendships, mental health, body image and inter gender relationships. Growing up in 2017 must be hard. Maybe even tougher than the warped wall? Cheer your boys on, be their inner strength, so that their success can be celebrated by the whole family.

Matthew Warr, Assistant Dean of Formation
warrm@atc.qld.edu.au