Taming the Teenager

Gavin Fish, Headmaster of Fish Hoek High School

Those that know, tell me that you expect a 3% return from your marketing. I’m not sure I’m getting even that. Currently, I’m using hard sell tactics to convince my teens that …”As you explore your interests, so you discover your passions, so you will come to fulfill your purpose.”

Let me explain! School offers a mouthwatering array of opportunities; from guitar lessons, to Hockey, Geography, Toastmasters, Photography and Hospitality classes. You’ve got to take them! While time and opportunity are on your side, you’ve got to expose yourself to these things. How else do you discover your passions? Those things that blow your shoes off; get you really excited, see you investing 1000’s of hours and 1000’s of rands.

We imagine the geniuses and successes of life to be lucky. They aren’t lucky! They all have one thing in common, an investment of at least 10 000 hours of practice in their passion. We don’t honestly believe that Raphael Nadal picked up a tennis racket and next moment he was the world number one?

Carl Lewis was a mere child when Bob Beamon rewrote the long jump record books with his monster 29 foot leap at the Mexico Olympics. When his father measured it out for him on the back lawn, he announced that he would break it. The rest is history. Billy Jean King said of her first tennis practice, “in an instant I knew what I would do with the rest of my life.” The rest is history. For us mere mortals, we discover our passions by a longer route, by embracing all that life has to offer and not being scared to venture out of our own, or our peers, comfort zones. Then the passions emerge, bite and bite hard!

As teachers and parents we can only hope to see our charges explore interests and discover passions. This business of fulfilling our purpose lies with a higher authority than you or I. Interests and passions are excellent road signs en route to our purpose. How privileged I was to have been exposed so early to so much.

Teen lethargy is normal. Lure them away from it.

I wonder what Billy Jean King, Carl Lewis and Raphael Nadal would say their purpose is? Or, if they are fulfilling it?