The View From My Study – 17th November

I am not alone in loving things that are strange but true, things that are so coincidental they are hard to believe. For instance the set of twins from Ohio in America who were separated at birth but both grew up to be policemen, both married women named Linda, both divorced and married someone called Betty, both had sons names James and both had dogs named ‘Toy’. Or how about the Simpsons’ prediction sixteen years ahead of its time that Donald Trump would become president? This week, I discovered that the car which carried Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, the leader whose assassination sparked the first world war, had the number plate A111118. Given the fact that peace was declared on the 11 November 1918, this is quite remarkable. Some might say ‘unbelieveable’.  In truth, the first two ‘ones’ on the number plater were actually the letter ‘L’ but were written like ‘1’ giving the impression of a prophetic date.

And this is the thing: we like coincidences because they reinforce the notion that a greater force is operating in the world, beyond our control. So we like to look for moments of serendipity when what we should be doing is concentrating on making each other feel happy. It is no coincidence that our performance improves when we are complimented; it is no coincidence that a child’s motor skills develop more quickly when encouraged; and it is no coincidence that our general health improves when we know that other people like and respect us. It all boils down to kindness and we have taken this week to focus on the art of being kind: doing and saying nice things to each other; being forces of good.

We can get caught up in our own worlds at times and miss the feelings of those around us; and Biltonians sometimes charge around in their eagerness to enjoy each moment, ignorant of their exuberance on others. But schools are environments for learning and one thing I know to be true at Bilton Grange; although we have moments where pupils make poor choices, within each Biltonian there is an essence of kindness that shows itself time and again. And this is what we strive for all the time. Be Kind; be kind; be kind!

 A great example of the above was showcased at the Chorister Experience Day on Saturday when several parents remarked how lovely it was to see the elder children looking after and helping the younger ones with their sight-reading of the music, carrying their robes and so on. The day may have been about the singing but those comments about our children’s kindness were music to my ears!

Life is full-on at the moment so it is an exeat this weekend before the very full and fun final three weeks. Have a good weekend everyone.

Gareth Jones, Head

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