Lifting the morale

The Standard Editorial Board of 2012-2013

Charles Dickens’ immortal words, which begin A Tale of Two Cities, are “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of foolishness…” These words resonate strongly with the feelings that all within our community latch onto at some point or the other. But what do the emotions expressed by students say about how they treat each other?
Even if students have homework for the next day, their mind is saturated with thoughts regarding college, their appearance, friends, grades, what they’re doing this weekend, and so on and so forth. In such an intimate, small school setting, it is as if every interaction has repercussions beyond the people concerned. It leads us to ask: If rumors and gossip can spread so vehemently, then why can’t the good deeds and traits of students and faculty spread as quickly?

The onslaught of positivity brought about by the non-school entity ASL Compliments is the spark for greater etiquette changes. Encouraging the community to smile as often as possible and enforcing the How Full is Your Bucket program are both perfectly valid ways of raising the morale of the student body. In fact, had they not been successful in other work environments they wouldn’t have been prescribed for ours. However, it is the “encouraging” – the pressure that the school places on students to manifest these policies – which ultimately makes them unsuccessful. Enforcement of any unnecessary program upon teenagers’ preoccupied minds will almost always be met with disgruntlement.

This goodwill is akin to an athlete trying to be the best in his or her respective field. Indeed, the coach may pile an intense fitness regime upon this girl or boy, but the drive and determination for maximum performance must also be the athlete’s goal, not only the coach’s. Thus, the athletic goal must be grappled with mentally as well as physically – it must come from within.

This is precisely why ASL Compliments is a morally lucrative idea – it came from the students. The notion of creating this Tumblr is grander a gesture than actually sending the compliments themselves.

As a school we must take it upon ourselves to spread this positive energy, not in order to conjure up new rigid schemes of how to improve our self-esteem, but for the simple satisfaction a compliment might give to someone you’ve never met.

Alas, the infringements of integrity, the petty crimes, the insults, the rumors, the verbal spats, the complicated relationship situations, and remorseful decisions that we make as teenagers will hopefully only characterise a small part of our high school experiences. The power lies in our hands to improve our school’s esteem, and we must do so out of our own volition.

There’s no reason for a more positively-geared school environment not to rise. In ten years time, it may make those memories from the ASL chapter in your story that much sweeter.