Why Trying New Things Is Still So Important

Last week, we encouraged all students who have been learning remotely all term, (i.e. students up to and including Year 9) to have a screen free day.  Sometimes you just need a break from the metaphorical “square eyes” screens provide, and a break from the routine we have set for ourselves while staying at home.

In the Senior School, we encouraged our students to use this day to try something new.  Now, this might seem crazy in the middle of a pandemic and Stage 4 restrictions which see us remaining  in our homes or in a five kilometre radius.

And while this makes trying new things that little bit harder, it also makes it that little bit more important.

When our worlds are small, it is easy to become bored and despondent – and we have to work hard each day to see the positives and to appreciate that which is familiar.  But adopting a new habit or trying a new hobby reminds us that the world may not be as small as it feels.  It reminds us that there are always new things we can experience, and always new and fresh ideas to ponder.

This is really important for young people’s self-identity as well, teaching them that they are constantly growing, changing and evolving.  Trying a new thing might change who they are forever in powerful and positive ways.

You might also learn you enjoy something you never really expected to, and that is a wonderful feeling as well.

It also teaches them to view their wellbeing as something they need to proactively monitor – what makes us feel good, and what makes us feel less hopeful.  This will greatly assist them as they move into adulthood.

While skydiving might be out, some of the things you could easily try at home include:

  • Cooking a meal you have never cooked before (I am dying to try the cookbook challenge I have seen some families embrace, where you randomly choose cookbook and cook a meal from it)
  • Redecorating or re-organising an area of the home
  • Trying a new exercise regimen
  • Reading a different kind of book – a non-fiction if you are a fiction reader, or a fantasy series if you have never tried one before.
  • Trying something new artistically – painting, drawing, ink, watercolour, crochet etc. Thank goodness for online shopping!  We can still get all the crucial tools delivered to our front door!
  • Build something – anything from the humble Lego set to something that requires tools in the garage and parental assistance
  • Getting your bike/skates out again after a while – embrace something you haven’t done since childhood
  • Trying a new board/card game
  • Starting a journal

Most of these can still be achieved in lockdown, and plenty more too.  One boy I challenged tried card stacking!  His castle wasn’t huge admittedly, but it was absorbing for him! I’ve also loved seeing the photos of some of the BGS boys cooking – a crucial life skill and a wonderful way to feel creative, give to others and develop a sense of achievement.

Also, if you are like me you have plenty of projects just waiting for you – things you lined up to do if you know you get bored enough.  And it can feel great to get on top of them.  I have some watercolour pens and some clay to make jewellery stuck in a drawer.  I have a garden that needs some urgent attention.  And last lockdown, I discovered a new passion for puzzles I never knew I had.

Sometimes, we need to give ourselves permission to take a risk – and remind ourselves that positive risk-taking is exciting!  What’s the worst that can happen in any of these activities?  You might find yourself with a new challenge, hobby or passion. Or at the very least, a funny “remember when” story.