Mrs Bennett’s Bulletin Tuesday 15 November 2022

Posted: 15th November 2022

Good morning, Prep School family,


Welcome to Tuesday! Where has the past week gone? I cannot believe how quickly the month of November is going, it only seems a few days ago that we were returning from half term but we are now starting week 3 of this term! Can you believe there are only 23 and a ½, yes you read that correctly, 23 and a ½, school days left until the end of term and we are in full Christmas mode here. . . it is very exciting but more about Christmas next week. This week, I want to talk about kindness.


Sunday 13 November was World Kindness Day and this got me thinking about all of the acts of kindness that we carry out and witness each day. In school, I see many kind things done daily, both big and small – from the children helping each other if they drop their belongings, to the teachers selflessly giving their own time to help at school events, to the lunchtime supervisors checking that a child is ok if they are by themselves on the playground. I see cups of tea being made for the teacher who hasn’t managed to have a break, teachers offering to do each other’s duties, children helping other children that have fallen over, children carrying each other’s bags. I hear conversations when the children offer to share their snack, lend their friend their spare PE kit or offer to help with the younger children’s coat zips. . .all of these acts are spontaneous and unprompted but make such a difference to our school community.

I then got to thinking about acts of kindness that have happened globally. Acts of kindness that may have seem so small and insignificant at the time but had a huge impact not only when they happened but have also changes the way people think and behave going forward. Trigger warning – now some of these examples cover sensitive subjects and have made me, the ice-queen cry (as named by Mr Bennett as I never cry) cry. . .so proceed with caution and a box of tissues.


Christmas truce between French, German and British soldiers during World War I

This poignant moment in the first year of World War I saw soldiers from different countries putting aside their differences in no man’s land. Accounts suggest that the temporary ceasefires allowed the homesick troops to trade prisoners, collect their dead or wounded comrades, swap cigarettes and food and even sing carols and play football together. It was seen as a symbolic moment of peaceful humanity during one of the most violent events in human history. This moment was once portrayed in a Sainsbury’s Christmas advert. It has to be the most poignant and thought-provoking advert of all time and one that I cannot watch without thinking of unimaginable bravery and unbelievable kindness.


Princess Diana shaking the hand of a man with AIDS

In 1987, the conversations around AIDS was fear-inducing and majorly alarmist. The public were unsure about the nature of the disease, how dangerous it was and how it could be transmitted. When Princess Diana visited a hospital in London, she was photographed shaking the hand of a patient suffering from AIDS without gloves. This single moment of compassion changed the dialogue around AIDS, challenged the false belief that the disease could be transmitted by touch and showed Diana’s unwavering kindness for other people.


The actions of Saint Teresa

Teresa’s kindness elevated her to sainthood. The work carried out by this Roman Catholic nun was so prolific that she is now what most us think of when we hear the word ‘saint’. She dedicated her life to kindness, opening homes and offering support for the sick, the homeless, orphans, those suffering from leprosy and other marginalised groups. Saint Teresa ran over 500 missions worldwide. She was canonised as a Saint by the Catholic church in 2016 – an extremely rare event that truly reflected the impact she had.


Japanese pensioners who volunteered to work in Fukushima

After the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011, a group of 200 Japanese pensioners volunteered to face the dangers of radiation instead of the young. Calling themselves the Skilled Veterans Corp, the group of retired engineers and other professionals volunteered to take on the danger that working in the area could bring. The cancer they could develop from the radiation could take 20–30 years to develop, meaning they would no longer be alive to experience it. Such an amazing act of kindness.


Operation Beautiful

A lady called Caitlin Boyle was feeling very down and extremely negative about herself while in a public bathroom when she decided to find a new way to promote a positivity and self-esteem, especially in girls and young women.  She began sticking anonymous positive messages written on post-it notes in public places, writing phrases such as ‘You are beautiful’ and ‘You can do it’. Thousands of notes have been posted all over the world, and the project which is now called Operation Beautiful inspires humans to feel better about themselves and pass the message on to others. Notes like this have appeared in many of the children’s exercise book and homework diaries at HPW – this is believed to be the work of the Spread a Little Happiness club.


The actions of Harold Lowe, who manned the only lifeboat that returned to the wreck of the Titanic

Harold Lowe, a 29-year-old officer on board the Titanic, was the only person who returned to the site of the shipwreck to save survivors. Despite fearing that his boat would be swamped by desperate people and he would be eventually drowned, Lowe turned his boat around and went back, saving as many as six people from the freezing sea. The only person out of 2240 passengers and crew. Amazing.


The founding of the Anthony Nolan Trust

In 1971, Anthony Nolan was born with a rare condition called Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. The only cure was a bone marrow transplant. None of his family were a match, and, at that time, there was no system in place to help those in need find a non-related bone marrow donors. In 1973, the first successful bone marrow donation from a non-family member was administered and Anthony’s mother Shirley had the idea to create a registry to match patients with matching donors. Today, The Anthony Nolan is the charity that makes lifesaving connections between patients in need and incredible strangers ready to donate their stem cells. It has saved thousands and thousands of lives.


The ’Pay It Forward’ movement

This worldwide movement encourages everyone to do three unprompted good deeds for three different people – such as giving someone an umbrella when it’s raining or paying for a coffee anonymously – and asking nothing in return except that the person ‘pay it forward’. That’s it. The idea has spread in popularity and even has a book and a film named after it. I have been part of this movement, both receiving and giving. Both acts of kindness made me feel extremely special and I thoroughly love this idea. I often talk to the children about paying it forward as the act of kindness can be as simple as smiling at a stranger. Have you experience this initiative?


Texas University students blocked protesters from demonstrating at a soldier’s funeral

Hundreds of students from this university formed a human wall around the funeral service of a soldier who had attended the university to protect his family from protesters. The Westboro Baptist Church, a very controversial and extremist movement (whose theologies and practices have been rejected by almost all other Christian churches) frequently protest at the funeral of soldiers. They believe that God punishes soldiers due to America’s tolerance of homosexuality. The human wall meant that the soldier’s family could lay him to rest in peace. So heart breaking that in 2022 this situation even arises. So sad that this sort of hatred and intolerance exist in the modern world.


Marcuc Rashford feeds school children

Marcus Rashford teamed up with poverty and food waste charity, FareShare to provide meals to poor school children in the Manchester area. Due to COVID-19-related lockdowns, school children were not receiving a free school meals during this time and many children were going hungry – their school meal was the only meal that these children were eating each day. On June 15, 2020, Rashford wrote an open letter calling for the UK government to end child poverty. Due to his actions, the government extended free school meals for children during the summer holidays.


What small act of kindness can you do today – you never know what difference it will make.


Quote of the week: “Have courage and be kind. Where there is kindness there is goodness, and where there is goodness there is magic.” – Disney’s Cinderella


Well-being tasks for this week: This month is New November and all of these tasks are based on new beginnings and fresh starts – each day is a new day. These tasks are good for all ages.


Tuesday 15 November – Build on a new idea


Wednesday 16 November – Look at a situation through someone else’s eyes – see their perspective


Thursday 17 November – Be kind to yourself today – practice some self-care


Friday 18 November – Connect with someone from a different generation


Saturday 19 November – Broaden your perspective


Sunday 20 November – Make a meal using a recipe that you haven’t tried before


Monday 21 November– Learn a new skill from a friend


Jokes of the week: 

When do astronauts eat?
At launch time.


What do you call a polar bear in the desert?


How do you know that carrots are good for your eyesight?
Because you never see rabbits wearing glasses.


Who was Joan of Arc?
Noah’s wife.


Doctor! Doctor! I keep thinking I’m a bell.
Well take these tablets and if you don’t improve give me a ring!


Sleeps til Santa: 39 days to go. . .


5 things that I am grateful for or looking forward to this week:

Can you try this simple exercise in gratitude and positivity?

  1. I am looking forward to having Amelie and Arthur for the whole weekend – no sleep but lots of fun and cuddles to be had!
  2. I am looking forward to making my Christmas cakes on Saturday.
  3. I am looking forward to catching up with old friends this week and making new ones.
  4. I am grateful for a productive yet restful weekend.
  5. I am grateful for the fact that Sainsbury’s (other supermarkets are available) is open 24 hours!

Have a super week and look after each other,


With much love,


Mrs Bennett