The View From My Study – 29th September

Sitting on the shelf just next to me as I type, is one of the nicest gifts I have ever received. It is a cribbage board, hand-made by my wife for my 30th birthday out of wood from a Walnut tree which had fallen down in the year of my birth. It is special because of the time, effort and thought that went into its creation as well as the fun we have had playing the game since. I shall always cherish the fact that someone carved it for me.

Mrs Jones will tell you about the satisfaction she derived from making the board and in many ways that feeling ranks higher than mine as the recipient. This is the power of ‘Giving’. It’s good for us.

Firstly, when we give to others it promotes cooperation and social connection. Studies have shown that a sense of trust begins to form between people who give to one another and the giver is more likely to receive something in return in the future. In other words, giving often creates a ripple effect of positivity and kindness.

Studies have also shown that both giving and gratitude are integral to happiness and health. There is a ‘warm glow’ effect activated in the regions of our brain associated with the pleasure of doing something for someone else and scientists believe this is due to the release of endorphins in the brain producing the positive feeling known as “helper’s high”. Meanwhile, people who have learnt to be grateful have begun to exercise more, be more optimistic and feel better about their lives overall.

There are clear messages to take on board here and it is why we are working hard as a school to promote a culture of ‘service’. Our new initiative for Upper School pupils, The BG Challenge, is centred around the basic premise that the more one puts into the community, the more one gets out. Service to others plays a crucial role in the BG Challenge because we believe it is key to success in later life. We now have older pupils listening to younger children read, or a group visiting Anya Court Care Home on a regular basis and others who voluntarily raise money for different charities in and out of school. Last year, as a School, we raised £11,883 and much of this was through the actions of the children.

Learning to take responsibility is the greatest gift we can give our pupils. It will lead to more peaceful and harmonious societies and will mean that Biltonians will put their educational advantages to the best possible use in broader society when they are older. And this all stems from the power of giving to others!

Thank you very much for all the Harvest Festival donations we have received so far. Please do keep them coming – the deadline is Friday 6 October please.

Tomorrow morning the usual HM Brekkie will be replaced by the Macmillan Coffee & Croissants Morning in the Gallery, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Research, and as a prelude to the Middle School Harvest Festival Service. We will be taking cash donations for this so please do remember to bring change if you can. All welcome, whether you are coming to the service or not.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Gareth Jones, Headmaster

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