Finding Balance: A Marathon Effort


As a part of the Character Education Programme at Yew Chung International School of Beijing, students are introduced each month to character traits that will aid them in their academic, social and personal development. As a key component of the Yew Chung curriculum, good character is essential towards becoming well-rounded and socially responsible citizens in the 21st century global marketplace.

During this week’s Character Education Assembly, Community Development Division Coordinator Casey Fanning introduced students to the new Character Trait of the Month: Balance. To an auditorium full of students and teachers, Mr. Fanning helped show why it’s important to find balance in life while being able to manage our many feelings, desires, commitments and obligations in a healthy and productive way.

To explain more – including ways that Balance and other Character Traits are worked into the daily curriculum, how running provides a perfect example of the need for balance, and tips for parents to help their children find balance in their own lives – we speak with Year 2 Co-Teacher (and professional marathon runner) Eurika Foster.


Infused Everywhere 

Once the Character Trait of the Month is introduced during a school assembly, teachers go back to their classrooms and immediately begin to reinforce the trait during daily lessons and activities. Examples of good character are then able to be infused into any topic, from math to science to humanities.

During the past month, Year 2 students were learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a part of their unit on Significant Figures in the World. During the unit, students talked about courage and respect (previous Character Traits of the Month), and the things that Dr. King stood for. In this way, positive character traits are made relevant to whatever subject we’re working on at the time.  


A Healthy Lifestyle

As a runner, it’s easy to recognise the importance of balance. If you push your body too hard, it will give out. Yet if you don’t push your body hard enough, it won’t be sufficiently prepared for the demands of a race. 

For athletes, it’s easier to understand the physical need for balance. But balance should also extend into one’s personal and social lives. For example, it’s important to find the right balance of studying vs rest, of eating foods you enjoy vs foods that are healthy, of time spent with technology vs time spent reading books. Balance is essential to all aspects of a healthy lifestyle.


Tips for Parents

At YCIS Beijing, it’s remarkable that so many of the students, even at such a young age, are already self-motivated to learn. There’s also a tremendous amount of parental involvement in students’ academic and social lives, and when asking students what they did on the weekend, many will say that they both went to extra tutoring classes and went to the park with their family. 

This is a healthy balance. For all of the extra classes students take to help prepare them for their academic futures, it’s equally important for them to spend quality time with their family in order to build the close bonds that will aid them emotionally as they grow older.

One other tip for parents is to find a healthy balance between motivating their children and not comparing them with others. Of course, parents hope that their children will be able to do well in life, which often means that they’ll be successful when competing with others for positions in university, in the workforce, etc. Yet if students feel that they’re always being compared to their peers, it can actually demotivate them and cause them to lose confidence. Therefore, parents should help their children to be inwardly self-motivated, while finding a balance between pushing themselves and appreciating the many blessings they already enjoy in their lives.

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