“Some are born grateful…”

“Some are born grateful, some achieve gratefulness, and some have gratefulness thrust upon them.”

(Not) William Shakespeare

Whilst there are distinct benefits of a four day week, a quick straw poll of people in Thursday’s lunch queue revealed that it is more difficult to haul oneself out of bed the next day at the normal time for school. It was also clear that having that mid-week breathing space was considered “a good thing”. On balance most people were grateful for having had a bank holiday this week. Many were grateful for having a day on which being grateful was the main purpose of the holiday. The high priest of positive psychology Martin Seligman is big on gratitude. Look closely (he tells us) at those who are grateful, and you will find people that are generally happier. It seems that there are benefits in saying thank you for the giver as well as the receiver.

Our school community is coming to the end of a week of remembrance activities. A time when we do not celebrate war, but we acknowledge the debt we owe others who have died to ensure that we can enjoy the privileges that we most certainly experience. Remembrance this year is per-haps easier than many previous years as we have so much to thank the thousands of people who have chosen to put themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of others. This isn’t a celebration of national fervour, more it is a chance to celebrate the contribution, to feel grateful for the mil-lions of small acts of bravery and courage and selflessness that make human existence slightly better. If you want to gain an understanding of what I’m saying then do, (if you haven’t already) take a few minutes to look at our remembrance film. My thanks to all who contributed by reading and by playing and also to our Communications Team who pulled it all together.

We perhaps show our gratitude most effectively in School when we do something for someone else. I was very politely “nobbled” on Thursday by a senior student with a proposal that the Sixth Form come to school in pyjamas or onesies today to raise money for our partner schools in Cambodia. I’m a grumpy Headmaster sometimes and I usually don’t go for fancy dress, but this time I could only say yes to a group of people who have chosen to think of others when they could (with justification) be feeling rather sorry for themselves. At the other end of the School I am grateful to all our younger pupils who have been so good about protecting others by wearing their masks so sensibly. They’ve been stars. Our maintenance team have provided excellent dining booths for the Senior School and our cleaners are working their socks off to make school safe for us. How fortunate we are.

We may well be confined to a 1km ring around our homes, there may well be a pandemic, and we may not know what tomorrow will bring but today I saw children pleased to be in school and doing the normal things that young people do at school – laughing and learning. And the sun came out. It could be so very different. Thank you for making it to the end of this week’s offering. I’m grateful for your patience!

Nicholas Hammond