It is amazing how quickly you age. I can vividly remember my 1st day at primary school; the battery-driven milk trucks that delivered Joyce's Dairy milk in glass bottles; the coupons used to pay for the milk we inserted into the empty bottles; Valiant car taxis; the brown bread with strawberry jam and milk issued to learners on a Friday; attending Friday mass at the primary school I was enrolled at; being taken from the holy communion line by teachers because you are not Catholic; the "lekkersmekker" (a twisted toffee sweet). These are but a few of my memories from a childhood that was littered with strange twists and turns; some hilariously funny and others painful to fathom. I feel like my life has turbocharged to 50!
Now I'm developing a new set of memories and engagements, the most recent being the annual medical checkup. I now have to commit to checking my blood pressure, cholesterol levels, prostrate, eyesight, sugar levels and so on. I clearly remember these were tests for old people! I guess I've now too arrived at this station.
The health check up has become a red-letter day on my calendar. Once the appointment has been made and the tests conducted, anxiety invariably builds as you wait for the outcome. Relief is palpable when you receive the news that the indicators are steady and have not deteriorated. I never knew I would applaud health indicators that have not improved but did not go further south. How standards can slip!
Let me move this along but retain my focus on a health check. Let me clearly state it is an important activity, i.e. Checking on your wellbeing is important. The results give you objective feedback on the various physiological systems that drive your efficiency as a human being. Armed with up-to-date reviews and information allow you to make informed decisions about the adaptations that need to be made or which behaviours to reinforce to improve the quality of your life. We often look for reasons not to do these health checkups but we never hesitate to do so when it involves our motor vehicles or household equipment. Surely the state of health of our body is more important than the engine of our car?
As we prepare to start the 3rd term of the 2016 school year in the Western Cape, can I request that you encourage the staff at your school to look at a battery of tests (or indicators) to evaluate the health of the systems in your school that are meant to fully develop the potential of each child in the institution. Look at the results of these evaluations and assess whether you need to make adjustments or reinforce behaviours that are working. Make sure that you know where things must change and effect the change with plans that are not only well constructed but also implementable with reasonable timeframes and attainable outcomes. And move forward to continue to nurture our future citizens. We need you to commit to the regular health check at your institution. Without such a commitment, we really don't know if we running healthy organizations or dying ones. And depending on which side we find ourselves on, our country sinks or swims.
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