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Strength of will at Penryn

| March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

BY GINA EVA

Our children are faced with daily challenges in the classroom, on the sports field and most definitely in social settings.

It is no easy feat to be a child growing up in today’s world. As if dealing with the simple biology of physical changes isn’t tough enough, our children are faced with the added stressors of exposure to societal issues that bombard their daily lives. An ever-increasing maturity is required for them to cope with these global ticking time bomb news bytes. This may all sound like ‘doom and gloom’; however, it also means that parents (and teachers) have an opportunity to be the example the children need, and to teach them the life skills and tenacity that are required of them to rise up above these mountains. Although perseverance may be seen as being similar to persistence, we need to consider the fact that whereby persisting at something is not giving up, persevering on the other hand is to persist at a task despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. At Penryn, we strive to offer our scholars opportunities to push themselves, to stretch to their limits, and when adversity arises, to help them work through challenges and not give up on their goals. One can stand on the outside and watch as our complement of qualified and dedicated staff across the phases put in time, energy and personal sacrifices for the betterment of other people’s children. Why? Because that’s what born teachers do. Every parent wants the very best for each of their children, too. Why else wouldn’t we want this for them? Challenges and setbacks are going to happen along the way, and as parents and teachers, it is imperative to afford children the opportunity to persevere towards those hard-to-reach goals and to set examples for them to see that we, too, can rise above adversity and not give up. When my family moved to Australia with our two very young children, hoping to call it home, our impression was that of a country that has it all; a place where dreams can be made. As we set down roots and attempted to blend in, we were struck by how little effort and perseverance were required for youth to achieve success. As an Australian school-leaver, you are presented with a myriad of options and choices for starting out as a young adult. At first glance, this seemed glorious. However, what struck us the most was to see the young adults some years later, with very little drive. Having been given so many easy options when growing up, there was little need to push oneself and to overcome challenges. Was this what we wanted for our children?

No place like home

The best move we made for our family was to return to the Lowveld. Despite many onlookers criticising our decision, we realised that by depriving our children of growing up in South Africa, we were depriving them the opportunity to learn what it is to persevere. Growing up in this beautiful country requires tenacity, it requires those who live here to strive for what they want, to push through when times are challenging and to never give up. When we all experience these setbacks and hardships, our human instinct steps in and we pull together as a community to help one another. This is something few First World countries know how to do. I would also hope that at this time we, too, would turn to our faith and know that our strength is not enough to get us through hardships without the added strength from God. What better gift could we give our children? Sure, our children may grow up choosing to move to another country someday, but we can rest assured that they will be well grounded, passionate and determined adults who never shy away from a challenge with hearts full of ubuntu. Mission accomplished!

Gina Eva is head of department at Penryn Preschool in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.

Category: Autumn 2020

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