Flinders Wellbeing Compass


The Importance of Courage

Having the courage to deal with cyberbullying and other offensive online activities is an important value that as parents, we can teach our children. In days gone by, courage was required to do such things as; saying no when someone wanted us to do something we did not want to, to speak up when we saw others doing or saying things behind the backs of others and to tell a bully to stop what they were doing.

In today’s world, courage is as important as ever, but it's worth bearing in mind, that just as the online world has changed the way we relate to one another, the courage we need is taking on new dimensions also. As our College Captain Kristina noted in her comments about courage; it's easier to ignore an offensive post than to have the courage to report, or to use our words to heal, not to do further damage. So how do we parent, and teach courage, with this in mind?

Social media and a range of different online applications are increasingly the tools used by perpetrators of offensive, harassing, and often illegal, activities. Therefore the response to the behaviour will often involve these tools and how they are used. Snapchat and Instagram are currently applications commonly used in this way.

As parents, please consider having the courage:

  • to say no to allowing your children to have, and use, the tools that this activity occurs on, before they are old and mature enough to understand all the implications and how to use them appropriately.
  • to say no to allowing your children access to these tools if you also do not understand how they work - please don’t allow the decision to be driven by the claim that “everyone else has it”, because they don’t.
  • To say no unless your child has all the security settings in place on all social media you agree they can use.
  • to say yes to family discussions on cybersafety, and your family's values - like courage, integrity and kindness. Discussing values helps to build resilience and perspective. Bullies and predators bank on these conversations never happening.
  • To agree to rules about appropriate usage of social media and other platforms in your home.
  • to say yes to cultivating a positive offline life as a family.

There is much information and support available that enables us to use these tools safely, but should you be worried about your child’s activities, information can be accessed through the resources provided on this site. I would also recommend that you look at the following videos produced by Rocket TV. They provide wonderful conversation starters that you can use to help communication about these matters with your children.

Courage, Mental Health and the Universe of Online Gaming

This week we here at Wellbeing Compass thought it would be useful to post some of the videos from Oceanic Pro League of League of Legends and Headspace. Headspace, an organisation that does fantastic work in supporting young people, has been sponsoring a round of the League of Legends (LOL) Oceanic Pro League (OPL). Headspace and OPL teamed up, not only to promote their round of the game but also to discuss various tips that help people maintain a healthy headspace, deal with the changes and challenges life throws at them, and help then live their life in a positive and meaningful way.

For those more aged folk among us – the OPL is an organisation of online gamers, so this is a world really well-known to our children and young people. There’s been lots of discussion about the more negative impacts of technology and online gaming on mental health, but the reality is, it is a way our young people connect, if not to play, then to watch other famous gamers play on YouTube channels dedicated to the sport.

The Herald Sun reported this week that “eSports is shaping up to be a major player in the world’s sporting landscape”. It is $1.5billion global industry that has a great deal of traction with young people. It’s not uncommon for sporting stars and celebrities to be talking about mental health and discussing the various strategies they have used to help them manage their lives. It is really refreshing to see a group of new ‘celebrities’ from the eSports world promoting mental health.

If someone you know is having issues in their lives and they need some support, please make contact with us here at school or headspace.

If you're in need of immediate support or medical assistance contact one of these services:

  • 000
  • Lifeline - 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800

Our Children's Courage

Children learn courage from what they observe, experience and from the messages they receive from family, friends, school, media and influential people. Many children are brave every day managing difficult situations as best as they can. Adults, particularly parents, can help children use courage as a wise resource by encouraging them to speak out about their worries and troubles, provide them a safe base from which to negotiate their world and give them support for their endeavours. Children's' courage is linked to their ability to bounce back from adversity and disappointment.

Two books in our library that highlight some dilemmas of courage that are worth reading together and worth a conversation are available for borrowing.

"Courage for beginners" By Karen Harrington

Twelve-year-old Mysti Murphy of Texas wishes she were a character in a book. If her life were fiction, she'd know how to solve her problems at school; take care of her family when her dad has to spend time in the hospital; and deal with her family's secret: that her mother is agoraphobic and never leaves the house.

"How brave is that?" By Anne Fine

Tom's a brave lad. All he's ever wanted to do is work hard at school, pass his exams, and join the army. He never gives up, even when terrible triplets turn life upside down at home. But when disaster strikes on exam day Tom has to come up with a plan. Fast. And it will be the bravest thing he's ever done!

Courage in Action

We have many books, two featured here, in both our libraries that mention courage---bravery, striving against the odds and making a stand. These, as well as others, may be interesting and inspiring reads. Books are a wonderful way to share stories about the importance of courage for young and old and to then talk about personal ideas, hopes and experiences of courage.

Not just Black and White: a conversation between a mother and daughter - Lesley and Tammy Williams

Two remarkable women tell an inspirational story about the power of family and pursuing your dreams.

Lesley Williams is forced to leave Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement and her family at a young age to work as a domestic servant. Apart from a bit of pocket money, Lesley never sees her wages – they are kept 'safe' for her and for countless others just like her. She is taught not to question her life, until desperation makes her start to wonder, where is all that money she earned? So begins a nine-year journey for answers which will test every ounce of her resolve.

Life without limits: how to live a ridiculously good life - Nick Vujicic

Life Without Limits is an inspiring book by an extraordinary man. Born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic overcame his disability to live not just independently but a rich, fulfilling life, becoming a model for anyone see

Success, Failure and the Wilderness in between

Image courtesy of Michael Leunig

The Winter Olympics and Lent are upon us and our thoughts turn to the unexpected ways people respond to life. The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics presents athletes full of enthusiasm and passion. For the vast majority a gold medal is not on the cards; being there is their success, or a top 10 finish, or participating in a major final. In a parenting blog from Michael Gross, which we mentioned in the recent Flinders Newsletter, he sees success within the context of managing yourself and your interactions with others. In a series of eleven TED talks the presenters provide us with a range of definitions of success and the stories of people who have overcome adversity or failure. Two that caught our attention include:

Elizabeth Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure.

John Wooden defines success as the peace of mind gained through the self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best.

We conclude this post with an amazing TED talk from Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix speaks with great beauty of the ways in which peace and hope can rise from the ashes of loss and adversity.

As we contemplate courage, we hope these talks provide some inspiration for your upcoming year and your journey at Flinders.

Flinders Wellbeing Team

More Links and Resources

The Flinders Wellbeing Compass is a resource developed for parents, staff and students.

It is updated regularly with current topics, information links and resources.