In early November, we had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar to our community as this year's guest speaker for Columbus Academy's Celebration of Leadership, a thank you event and stimulus for leadership donors to the current school year's Annual Fund. The lecturer, entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author spent the afternoon speaking with students in grades 8-12 during a special assembly and then sat down with members of our upper school journalism class.
In the evening, Dr. Ben-Shahar shared his thoughts on the importance of positive psychology with leadership donors in the Party Barn at the Wexner Residence. His key points were that everyone: 1. has permission to be human (“the foundation of a happy life”), 2. needs ways to manage and overcome stress (“lack of recovery is the problem”), 3. relies on relationships (“#1 predictor of happiness” and “must be real rather than virtual”) and 4. should make a habit of expressing gratitude (“reduces pessimism, anxiety and depression... what a difference it can make”).
This important conversation on Flourishing – which is the practice of using psychology to grow or “flourish” from a position of wellness, not just a method to cure sickness – continued with a parent education event later in the fall featuring Academy’s own Dr. Suzanne Ritter and Michelle Schroeder-Lowrey. With funding from the school, they pursued certifications in positive psychology in 2017, and they brought interactive experiences to demonstrate how it affects your daily life and how it is woven into the daily activities of students at Columbus Academy.