| Head's Blog

‘This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.’
Dalai Lama

In a recent focus group that we did with the children the children were asked ‘If the School was a person, what type of person would they be?’ The pupils gave us some very good and perceptive answers – Unique, Intelligent, Sporty, Welcoming, Helpful, Friendly and Special. However, there was one word that cropped up a number of times – Kind.

In a society in which every man, woman, child and family for themselves seems to be the unspoken mantra, it is vital that we try and give our children something tangible, some moral compass to hold onto. Not something as esoteric as ‘follow your dreams’ or ‘you can do whatever you want to do in life’ but something a little more practical and less likely to lead to disillusionment and resentment.

I have thought long and hard about what we should be teaching our children by way of a simple philosophy and have settled on this simple adage – hardly original – but I feel comfortable with it; it is simply to ‘Work hard and be kind’. Not as catchy as most school mottos but nor should it be. Of course, hard work doesn’t always guarantee success because ability is not evenly distributed; nor is life fair (and children should understand that this is never a reason for not trying). However, someone who is essentially decent and who knows how to work will always find a refuge.

We can all understand the value of hard work and accept that even a genius needs its requisite 10,000 hours but kindness is another matter. After all, it is one of those words like ‘nice’ that has had its personality drained from it and yet its simplicity belies its strength. Trite sounding it might be, but under its umbrella comes everything that matters. Compassion for others; the sense of charity; tolerance; understanding; empathy and treating people with decency and respect. Teaching children to be kind is not an instruction to be given but an example to be shared.

‘Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything in life.’
Isaac Bashevis Singer