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OUR SAY: Remember that graduating students are more than a number
OUR SAY: Remember that graduating students are more than a number avatar

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There’s been an awful lot of focus on HSC results and ATAR scores in the past week, but it’s important to remind our young people that those numbers do not define them.

Of course we want our kids to do well and we encourage them – sometimes push them – to reach the potential we see inside of them. However, time and time again we find that encouragement can turn into pressure and stress that pollute these fertile minds until they equate those final scores with self-worth.

It’s a catch-22 for the families and friends of these students; push, but not too hard – or back off, but not too much.

There’s an acceptance of the way the world works as we get older, a perspective that can only be found through the passages of time. The exam results and equations, study notes and poems and formulas all fall through the cracks of memory as we grow into adulthood. There’s love and hardship, tough decisions and happy coincidences, but through it all we discover that what really matters is the people we spend our few precious years with.

Yes, we’d love to see our kids go on to become doctors or lawyers, great architects or innovative engineers, even famous musicians or great artists. Yes, we want all of these things and families and wealth and health and every great thing that life holds. But if we do not teach them about what is truly important then we sell them short.

Our heroes are not just great athletes who win gold medals, but also soldiers who slogged through mud and blood to keep each other alive. Would we rather our children grow up to become people who win at all costs, or ones who work together for the betterment of everyone?

Likewise, we don’t just look at the world’s richest people and proclaim: “There go the great ones”, because often we also see the flaws that plastic surgery cannot fix. Indeed, when we look at the likes of Donald Trump and Bill Gates, we see two very different – albeit very wealthy – men. One builds his empire, the other gives from his empire to those who need it.

You know, it’s funny when you look at our preoccupation with the status of getting into university and the way we dismiss ‘tradies’ as common folk. The fact of the matter is that people who wear blue collars build the world of those who wear white collars.

So yes, do your best, but remember that number on a piece of paper does not define how important you really are.

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