Have you ever come across the word ‘ennui’? It’s pronounced “on-wee”, which I’m sure will make some of you giggle. It’s a French word that has been around since the 1600s and has kind of come back into vogue as a word to describe a sense of being bored or listless. It’s the emotion or term applied to that feeling you get when you have nothing ‘better’ to do, so we grab our phones and begin the ‘death scroll’ through social media posts and those videos that capture our attention. Disney’s new Inside Out 2 movie, which is coming out later in the year, also has a new emotion in the line up of emotions called, you guessed it – ‘Ennui’. Ennui is introduced, according to the trailer, flopped out on the couch on his phone.  

Essentially, there’s nothing wrong with ‘ennui’. We are all going to experience that from time to time but we have to be careful to not succumb to its gravity, and perhaps we can replace ennui with something else?  

At a conference I attended last week, the speaker, Sam Bloore from New Zealand, suggested that a replacement for ennui could be wonder and gratitude. Imagine if we could take a moment and shift our listlessness to thinking on the things that bring us both wonder, awe and gratitude? Imagine if we could do this as a community? Sam suggested that schools could be the places where we ‘resurrect’ wonder and gratitude and I like that idea!  

When was the last time you allowed something simple in creation to permeate your soul and awaken wonder and gratitude? Was it a beach, a tree, a shrub, a painting, a good meal, a child, an old person? Augustine wrote these words in relation to Psalm 26:

Let your mind roam through the whole creation; everywhere the created world will cry out to you: “God made me.” Whatever pleases you in a work of art brings to your mind the artist who wrought it; much more, when you survey the universe, does the consideration of it evoke praise for its Maker. You look on the heavens; they are God’s great work. You behold the earth; God made its numbers of seeds, its varieties of plants, its multitude of animals. Go round the heavens again and back to the earth, leave out nothing; on all sides everything cries out to you of its Author; nay the very forms of created things are as it were the voices with which they praise their Creator.  

Augustine understood wonder and gratitude and he found it in the everyday ordinariness of life. I’m trying to work on that in my own life and to be honest, I don’t have to try too hard. It’s in the giggle of a Preppie, it’s in the warmth of our staff devotions, it’s in the lemon scent of the trees in our office car park, it’s in the smiles of our ladies at the front desk, it’s in the fun of a game of four square, it’s in the praise at our Whole School Assembly, it’s in the common room at Ranges TEC. Let’s work together to awaken and resurrect wonder and gratitude in our own lives and who knows, we might just inspire someone else. 

Michelle Dempsey
MECS Principal

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