I was impressed the other day by a poster advertising the watchmaker Omega. You may have seen it. It has a picture of one of their watches (it’s the Speedmaster, I think) and it says ‘The first watch worn on the moon’. For me, this is a perfect claim! When it comes to having made the first watch worn on the moon, no other watchmaker can even try to compete.
I can’t claim that Wellington College Bangkok is the first school on the moon (though I would love to make it happen!) and I try to be careful about any claims we do make – anyone and their dog can claim to be No 1, for example, as you know. So I was really delighted earlier this week when a couple of parents made their own claims to me about what our school is. They told me that this is ‘the wellbeing school’.
Although the word ‘wellbeing’ is much overused these days, at its heart there is an excellent meaning. Having wellbeing isn’t really ‘being comfortable’, or even ‘being happy’. It’s flourishing. Aristotle called it ‘eudaimonia’ and agreed that it did not mean simply ‘feeling pleasure’ or ‘gaining wealth’. Today, we generally consider wellbeing/flourishing/eudaimonia to be:
• developing one’s potential
• having a sense of purpose
• making effort to reach excellence
• full personal commitment to what one is doing.
And this is indeed what we are trying to teach at Wellington College – along, as I have said before, with being a good person (‘arete’ in Aristotle’s Greek). And if you, our parents, recognise that fact, then I guess we must be doing something right! Nevertheless, ‘wellbeing’ is not easy, and it is not simple. We don’t have statistics – 100% top grades in Wellbeing, or anything like that – and wellbeing itself is difficult to judge in the moment. But the long-term benefits to everyone who attends a ‘wellbeing school’ will be enormous.