4 minutes reading time (850 words)

Mental Health … Matters!

South Africa is presently a nation in a state of moral and emotional crisis. Every day we read or hear about stories of crime, violence, corruption. Tempers are short, mistrust is high, stress and anxiety is everywhere. How do we “recalibrate” our mental capacity for kindness, goodness, honesty and trust when the world around us seems to be in such a state of distress? Quite simply, we learn to do so slowly, carefully, one small step at a time. The way out of any crisis is to look the crisis squarely in the eye and then ask – what small thing can I do or say that will make a POSITIVE difference to where we are right now/today? Then – we DO IT! Tomorrow we ask the very same question again and try to do one additional new thing – again, it needs to be positive. If every South African did this each and every day – our nation would slowly start to change, to heal, to move forward with a sense that life can get better. Positive thoughts alone are not enough – they need to be followed up with positive actions.

We also need to stop blaming others and start taking responsibility for certain things ourselves. Instead of us all looking to those in authority and power and waiting for them to solve problems for us and blaming them when they can’t, we need to stand up and take action on our own. It is easy to find fault, it is much harder to create solutions. The more of us that get involved in searching for positive, realistic, practical solutions, the more likely we will find them and make a difference.

Many of us assume that we don’t have the capacity to create significant change – think again! We all have the ability to influence others and, in fact, do so every day without even realising it. Just this morning an email was circulated that highlights this very concept – I have included it here. Read it carefully and then evaluate the impact YOUR behaviour has had on those young people around you. Become conscious of what you say and do and make sure it is, whenever and wherever possible, as positive and honourable as it can be. All around you each day others are watching you and learning to do as YOU DO, not as you say! 

WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKINGWhen you thought I wasn't looking I saw you hang my
first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately
wanted to paint another one.When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you feed the
birds in winter, and I learned that it was good to be kind
to animals.When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make my
favourite cake for me, and I learned that the little
things can be the special things in life.When you thought I wasn't looking I heard you say a
prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always
talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make a
meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I
learned that we all have to help take care of each other.When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you take care
of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have
to take care of what we are given.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw how you
handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't
feel good, and I learned that I would have to be
responsible when I grow up.When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you hold
the door open for others and heard 'thank you' and
'you're welcome', and I learned respect for others.When you thought I wasn't looking I saw tears come
from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things
hurt, but it's all right to cry. 

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you give a hug to

My mother and tell her she was the best in the world. I learnt that

saying “I love you” makes people feel valued.When you thought I wasn't looking I saw that you
cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.When you thought I wasn't looking I learned most of
life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and
productive person when I grow up.When you thought I wasn't looking I looked at you and
wanted to say, “Thanks for all the things I saw when
you thought I wasn't looking.”

Spend time making sure that what our children and those around us are learning from us when we  “are not looking”  are the values of hope, love, respect, honesty, trust, positive attitude, compassion, empathy, kindness, gentleness, self-respect, integrity, genuineness and last, but not least, a willingness to admit to making mistakes and an openness to looking for solutions. Your very behaviour then becomes part of a solution! The 21st March is Human Rights Day – if we all lived by these attitudes, we would make a significant difference to the human rights of everyone – every day!

Liz Norman- Clinical Social Worker/School Counsellor

iPads in Grade 1W
REMINDER : Brescia House Easter Teddy Bear Knittin...


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