Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 20th November 2020
We have had a slew of wonderful assemblies already this half-term, with a central unifying message. Mr Morrison, with boys from Year 8, has spoken about the need to be respectful and tolerant of those around us, even if we disagree with them. Miss Krebs has told us about the Kyoto Protocol and developments in tackling climate change. Mr Hanson has talked about positive ways to help those outside our immediate community. Dr Bethany Sollereder talked to the whole school, in our virtual chapel service, about the good Samaritan and the way we treat others. While Mr Neal introduced the boys to the history of the 1863 Gettysburg Address (the anniversary of which was yesterday), and its celebration of ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’, and the notion that all ‘are created equal’. The unifying theme of these assemblies has been reaching out beyond ourselves, valuing and working for the good of others, and being aware of how our own actions can negatively or positively help those in both our immediate and wider communities.
As I often mention in these newsletters, much of what we are doing here is getting the boys into good habits for their later lives – essentially to make sure that those lives are full of happy thriving. If the boys get into good habits now, they haven’t got to undo negative or corrosive behaviours – with all the attentive time wasting and irritation that brings – later on in life. These habits are habits of thought as well as action, to do with their mental health as well as their academic learning. Hence why we focus so much attention on these assemblies, revisiting key overarching themes, to drip-feed desirable behaviours into the boys’ ears! Even when we are noting major anniversaries like that of the Kyoto Protocol or the Gettysburg Address, we are looking for a moral message that takes the boys beyond a decent historical knowledge (as helpful as that may be) and towards an understanding that there are lessons to take from key world events. This gets easier as you get older, and obtain more perspective, but that’s no reason not to begin when the boys are at a relatively young age.