A Message from the Rector

By Richard Hall | Posted: Friday July 24, 2020

As ex- American President Barack Obama said, "perseverance leads to the idea of making your mark."

'Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.'

It can be cliched to reach for a quote from a famous person to back up a value but in using this statement I am not looking for global action from your son (although that could happen), I am more looking at the idea that anything worthwhile comes through hard work. Often, with boys, they will look at the success of others as being easy for them - they are smarter, taller or fitter. But rarely do they actually say - it is deserved, because he works really hard!

As parents, we can feel frustration out of our child's lack of drive. Be careful you may not have been any different at his age, but use your experience to show him the way. Positive reinforcement should not focus on the result as much as on the effort that got that result. Our adult language needs to reflect this. In the main, the results your son achieves come from the effort that he puts in.

I vividly remember an email from a parent who when her son did not make the Under 15 Blues rugby side saying that all of his training and effort had been a waste of time. I disagreed then and I still do now. The goal might not have been achieved, but a person's worth should never be measured by team selections and no effort in getting better is lost either. As parents we need to feed that line more.

Remember though, he has to balance this drive for attainment with his adolescence - the physical and mental metamorphosis from the caterpillar to the butterfly that every child goes through. Again by rewarding or praising the effort, you send the right messages, rather than the negative reinforcement around a lack of drive that he takes as a lack of success. Won't pass, why bother!

This term will be a make or break for a number of reasons and the world is changing, to be in an employment sense, less welcoming than it once was. Perseverance, through effort will always be worth it.

Unsurprisingly, given this article; our value for this term is perseverance. To me this value is about grit and stamina, the ability to knuckle down.

Usually this would be our hardest term, 10 straight and uninterrupted weeks, where it is cold and dark. But given the difficulties of term 2, this may well be a breeze!

I look forward to seeing you at the parent evenings and on the sidelines.