Dear Parents,

A very warm welcome to our new families. We are looking forward to getting to know you more.

Following on from the holidays, it’s great to be back together in community. We want our young people to enjoy good days at school.

When holidaying down south, there’s a bookshop that I typically drop in to browse for a good holiday read. I purchased two books; ‘Braving the Wilderness; the quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone’ by Sociologist Brenè Brown, and ‘Grit; why passion and resilience are the secrets to success’, by Psychologist Angela Duckworth.  

To start the year, I reminded our students that we believe we are all made in God’s image. I encouraged them to pursue excellence. It’s a way of honouring our gift of life, of aspiring to be our best possible self. Brene Brown’s book reflects how her life experience and personal faith have contributed to her courage for living by what is truthful and right. Angela Duckworth was frequently told by her dad that she is “no genius!” Ironically, she has been awarded an internationally recognised prize for being a genius in her field; studying the association of grit with success.

Excellence is reflected in having the courage to remain consistently ‘on track’, with activities (including school work) that lead to opened doors and new opportunities.

Below is a summary from a highly respected Professor of Psychology, arguably the western world’s leading Academic in understanding the benefits of gratitude. In one of Professor Robert Emmon’s articles, he summarizes key scientific findings from the field of Positive Psychology.


  • Religious faith matters. People for whom religion is important are happier and cope better with stress.
  • Happiness is a cause of good things in life, and not simply a result of success or good outcomes. Happy people make good things happen.
  • Happiness, strength of character, and good social relationships are buffers against the damaging effects of disappointment and setbacks.
  • People who are politically conservative are happier than non-conservative political thinkers.
  • Most people (including students) are happy. Character contributes to wellbeing, so does pleasure.
  • Good days have common features: increased feelings of control, increased competence, and being connected to others.
  • Money makes an ever-diminishing contribution to wellbeing, but money can buy happiness if it is spent on other people.
  • Most children are resilient. They bounce back from adversity, large and small.
  • A ‘good life’ can be taught. 

For all of us, especially our children, good days include increased feelings of control, increased competence, and being connected to others.

A similar encouragement is given in the Bible: ‘For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Tim 1:7).

In ‘school-speak’, good days at SCBC happen not because of being driven by fear, but because God’s presence in our community empowers us with love and self-control.

Blessings to you and your family,

Des Mitchell