Musings from the Head’s Study ~ 11th October 2013

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Last week was one of wonderful after school events. Tuesday saw the annual fund-raising dinner for the Music Tour. This year it took the form of a Greek night, complete with Greek music and a wonderful mango-flavoured dessert. I wasn’t able to attend much of the event in person due to the fact that not only did I have a great deal of home work to do that night but also the girls had had such a massive response from parents and friends of the School that there was no room for me, which was a little sad for me but great for them. That said, a couple of members of the VIth Form brought food down to my Study where I was working (thanks ladies!) and I was able to hear the music through the ceiling of my room so it was almost like being there! I was able to pop upstairs for the fund-raising auction at the end of the evening but was ultimately unsuccessful in my attempts to buy an awesome chocolate muffin cake which was on offer, having been outbid. I was a little disappointed because, as parents may not know but the girls certainly do, it has always been my habit to buy something edible at this event which I can then send upstairs to the ‘Nursery’ at Break for the VIth Form to have in their Common Rooms. Imagine then my delight when, at the end of the evening, the parent who had outbid me gave me the cake as a gift. This was an incredibly generous and kind act (and you know who your are!) and it not only gave me a very special feeling at the time but also meant I could have a ‘Marie Antoinette moment’ with the VIth Form the following break.

Thursday was the first of this year’s programme of public More’s Household events. The Celebration of Talents evening was on the theme of ‘memory’ and examined the whole idea of how our memory works (we still do not really know) and what our memory is for. The girls explored how memory can be evoked through various stimuli and how the whole experience can be very intense. They put forward the idea that it is true to say that, amongst other things, we are the sum of our memories. The Guest Speaker for the night was fascinating, being a psychologist and psychotherapist who specialised in dealing with adolescent and young adults in distress. Often very high achieving, they nonetheless often find themselves unable to cope when they first encounter failure. His argument was that what is needed is the memory of failure upon which to draw, so that one can remind oneself that this is survivable. This, he argued, produces the resilience necessary for adulthood but is something which society, at the moment, seems to attempting to insulate children, especially teenagers, from. He also argued that the notion of ‘an entitlement to happiness and success’, which adolescents have been taught to believe they have, is a very damaging one in the long run. His view was that our young people have to be mentally and emotionally tough enough to be able to take and learn from the experience of being told ‘sorry, you’re not good enough yet for the football team ~ there are others who are better than you. You want a place in the team? Come back and try again when you are  a better player’. They have to understand that unhappiness, as opposed to trauma, is part of being human and that the comfort which they are offered must be proportionate to the unhappiness they are feeling. For him, memory is the repository of the experiences which breed mental health. He also left us with the interesting idea that every time we recall a memory we create a new ‘version’ of it which includes our conscious and unconscious modifications of it which then, in effect, over-writes our previous memory thus the more a memory is remembered the less accurate it becomes in terms of being an accurate representation of past events.

The sporting season opened with a vengeance last week with our sports teams being out two evenings in the week. The PE Department have come up with the excellent idea of the relevant captains writing their own match reports which are then posted to the Blog ~ I believe you will find one by Sky posted recently. It is really good to see sport taking off in this manner.

I was most envious of one of our girls (Ines B) last week when she showed me the official photos of her meeting the Pope recently and we are not talking just a quick wave from the crowd, no this was really upfront and personal. What an experience that must have been for her and her family. I am attempting to persuade her to write something about the experience for the Autumn issue of More In Depth so watch this space.

And finally: I was very touched indeed to receive an early leaving present from one of the girls. She has just had her first volume of poetry published and she wanted me to have a copy to remember my time here by which was so very kind of her. The poetry is wonderful ~ powerfully evocative yet delicate in structure ~ and although I haven’t finished the collection yet because I am savouring it by rationing myself I would like to share with you one which has struck a particular chord with me so far.

 

 Only Flowers

If I had a flower

for every time you made me

smile and laugh

I would have a garden to walk in

forever.

From: A Fantasy of Sadness

With best wishes for a very pleasant, Autumnal weekend

 

Robert Carlysle

 

The weeks ahead

Friday 11th October 10am ~ 12.30pm: U15 Netball Tournament
Monday 14th October 2 ~ 4pm: Year 7 & Year 8 Form Tutor & Parent meetings

4.30 ~ 5.30pm: Swimming Gala v Queen’s Gate

7pm: Pre-Tour Concert

Tuesday 15th October 4.15 ~ 6pm: U14 Netball v Francis Holland

4.30 ~ 6.30pm: LVIth & UVIth Parents’ Evening

Wednesday 16th October 3.30 ~ 5pm: Tour Choir Rehearsal

7 ~ 10pm: UVIth Drama trip to see The Drowned Man

Thursday 17th October The Music Tour to Greece departs (returns 24th October)

4~6pm: VIth Form Life Drawing

Friday 18th October 10 ~ 12.30pm: U13 Netball Tournament

Year 11 GCSE First predictions

School breaks for Half Term

Monday 4th November School reconvenes

P2 ~ lunch: Year 9 Geography~ Sockmob Homeless Tour

3.30 ~ 4.30pm: Senior Chamber Choir

Tuesday 5th November 4.30 ~ 6pm: U12 & U14 Netball

4-6pm: VIth Form Art Portfolio Group

Wednesday 6th November 4.30 ~ 6.30pm: Year 9 Parents Meeting
Thursday 7th November 4~6pm: VIth Form Art Life Drawing Class

6.30pm: More House Parents’ Association AGM and meeting

Friday 8th November  

 

The Prayer in the Chapel this week:

This is the day that the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalms 118: 24

 

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