The View From My Study – 21st April

I wonder how many of us, when faced with a small and seemingly unimportant task, have paused and thought, “no, not worth bothering to do that; there are more important things to do”?

It was probably a small, boring task and something you’ve done a thousand times before. As a result, you no longer saw its value! And yet, it is those small, boring tasks that are often so crucial for development later on.

When learning a musical instrument, repeating scales and pieces of music over and over can become dull but it is necessary to play the more interesting rhythms and melodies. Or, in hockey, the repeated practice of drills and short corners is so that they can be enacted in a match situation when it really counts.

Sometimes a victory comes down to the tiniest of margins and the team that wins is the one that keeps its composure. And the reason a team keeps its composure is because the individuals within that team have belief in their basic skills because they have practised things – the small things – over and over. This leads to trust in each other, positive momentum and an enhanced team spirit.

On this, Bear Grylls, an ex SAS soldier who is now a survival expert and conqueror of Mt Everest, offers some sage advice. Having not been a star at school, he points out that there will always be someone faster, smarter, taller and more experienced but the rewards in life don’t always go to them. They go to the dogged and determined who are prepared to tackle the small tasks quietly and undramatically.

“It is not the most masculine, macho or the ones with the biggest muscles who win. It’s those who look after each other, who remain cheerful in adversity, who are kind and persistent and positive. These are the characteristics that help you, not just to survive life but to enjoy it. And they’re nothing to do with gender. The people who are successful are the ordinary ones that just go that little bit further, who give a little more than they are asked to, who live within that extra 5%”. [Bear Grylls]

So, my challenge to the children this week is to be one of the ‘ordinary ones’. Someone who can be relied upon to do what is expected. Someone who plays as part of the team and encourages others to do the same. Someone who can be trusted with the smaller tasks because one day they might be entrusted with a lot more.

As we embark on a new term, I told the children to be ambitious and set their sights high. But to be prepared also for the little things because they will help them to success in the end.

If the actual sun has only made fleeting appearances this week, it has certainly been outshone by the beams on the children’s faces who have been eager and happy to be back at school. At lunch on Monday, one 3rd Former told me she was really pleased to be here again and reported that her Dad was too. “He will now get some peace and quiet!” she said.

HM’s Bacon Butties (and other breakfast delights) will be served tomorrow morning from 8.15am so please do come along. Afterwards, FAB are holding their termly meeting in the Pugin Library and so please do join this too – it is open to all parents and is simply about being involved in the community.

If I don’t see you, I wish you a very happy weekend.

Gareth Jones, Headmaster

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