The value of pausing

Karen Mahar – Assistant Principal, Deputy Head of Junior School

Karen Mahar - Assistant Principal, Deputy Head of Junior School

Karen Mahar - Assistant Principal, Deputy Head of Junior School

Robert Fulghum quotation

As we approach the end of Term 4, and dance through the busyness that this time of year involves, it seems appropriate to consider the value of pausing. 

Pausing allows reflection. And reflection enables a greater appreciation of lessons learned and the potential for greater contentment from any achievements. 

Reflection can be an empowering process.  

Some reasons people are encouraged to pause and reflect include:

  • to help make sense of your day, week and/or year
  • to evaluate what has been accomplished and celebrate the learning journey
  • to celebrate success and revel in the delights offered by any achievements 
  • to learn from mistakes and provide learning opportunities
  • to plan for next steps.

This week, as our Year 12 students participate in significant milestone events associated with the culmination of their time as a Radford student, it seems an ideal opportunity for our community to reflect and highlight what we value. 

Recently, some Year 12 students were invited to our ELC, providing many opportunities for staff and students to rekindle memories and relive moments from their pasts and share significant stories of their time spent in both the ELC and throughout their time in the Junior School [see JS News, 11 Nov 20]. 

Sometimes when we take a step back (or are confronted by a global pandemic) we are able to appreciate how simple acts, such as washing our hands, can help combat even the most complicated problems. 

By Robert FulghumRegardless of the complication, or sophistication of any situation, Robert Fulghum’s reflection in “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” (Fulghum, 1988) suggests simple habits can raise the spirits and lift hearts, applying to everyone. Not only do these learned habits resonate with our youngest students, they can also apply to our older students, and to our Year 12 graduates, and are of value in enhancing wellbeing for our entire extended community.  

The suggestion is that we are wise to retain the time-proven lessons of Fulghum’s ‘kindergarten’ and consider them companions in our journey through life. 

Savouring requires us to slow down, stretch out the experience, and pay close attention to our surroundings, feelings and experiences. 

So, as the holiday break approaches, we are encouraged to take time to pause. Removing ourselves from the constant hustle and pace of everyday life can be rewarding and allow reflection and opportunity to recalibrate. 

Families are encouraged to take special note of moments of love, awe and any kindness encountered. Pause, enjoy and hold them close to your heart. 

In the saying often attributed to Aristotle: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” 

Useful links:


Fulghum, R (1988) All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thought on Common Things. New York: Villard Books


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