Headmaster’s Assembly – 27 November 2017

Family time…

You are about to embark on one of the longest holidays of your lives. Not only are we finishing formal school earlier due to the common exams we were forced to write but you are coming back later than usual next year. You have around seven weeks’ worth of holiday – which seems like heaven to you now. There will, however be a few issues to deal with as you have this amount of time to yourself and engage with your families for an extended period of time that you (and they) are not used to. So today, as you go home to your families for almost two months, I share with you five practical tips and ideas for a good holiday. Five challenges for you to think about. Feel free to choose one or all of them or indeed to ignore them as you wish.

  1. Have a meal together as a family at least once every day. I’m not talking about takeaways in front of the tv but a meal where you sit together round a table and talk to each other. Better still if you have been part of preparing the meal together. Most cultures I know of regard food and meals as an important part of family life and indeed social events. Food nourishes us inside but the experience around food, preparing and eating together nourishes our souls and connects us as human beings. So have a meal every day with your family if you can. And there are no phones allowed at table!!
  2. Have one day without your phone – a technology-free day if you will. Just one. Tell people you are going to do it so they don’t worry about you and then do it. When I see groups of people in restaurants or hanging around at the mall or at school, most have their phones out and are looking down – making sure they are connected but missing on connections from those physically next to them. There is a wonderful video called “Look Up” which I will play for you one day that talks about the missed opportunities we have as a result from us looking down into a screen all the time. One day without your phone.
  3. Read one book – or at least one. A book with words only – no pictures. A book that requires you to make pictures in your mind as opposed to them being given to you. A book of words that makes you think, makes you laugh or makes you cry. Something that may change your thinking or something that is pure entertainment. One book – that is all I ask.
  4. Clean up after yourself. Don’t expect your parents to do it for you. You know your Mom usually does but why should she? Make your own bed, pick up your clothes, and wash the dishes – particularly if you are going away. Your parents are on holiday too – let them enjoy it as much as you do.
  5. Instead of doing what you want to do, go with the other person’s choice even if you don’t want to. When your parents suggest something they want you to do with them and you don’t want to, do it anyway. If your sister or friend chooses something else, go with it. Think of others.

I was going to make this list longer and fill it with stuff that I would like you to do but you would then forget what I have said already. If I give you five things, you can remember them – meals every day with your family, one day without your phone, read a book, clean up and think of others.

It will be interesting to have feedback from you after these holidays to see if you were able to do them. I will be sharing them with parents as well, so expect total onslaught this holiday!

I wish you a peaceful break and a deserved rest but remember your families are not used to having you around so much – treat them gently!

Leave a Reply