Good morning, Prep School family,
I hope you are all well today and enjoying the last day of January for 2023! It seems to me to have been the longest month, ever. I haven’t disliked January at all and we have had some fun, both in and out of school, but I am very ready to wave the month off and welcome February. The thought of February has been tempting me for weeks – it offers a half term holiday, Pancake Day, lighter mornings and evenings, birthdays and weekends away. . .how can January compete with that and all neatly packaged into 28 days.
As all of you will know, I do many duties around school in a week – I can often be found on the gate, in the playground or in the dining halls. One of my favourite duties has duty in the dining halls and to be more specific – a Friday lunchtime, second sitting at HPW. This sitting is relatively quiet as many children are at choir so I am left with the children in Year 4 and 5 that don’t attend. I like the dining hall to run as clockwork – organised, quiet with polite children, always displaying their best table manners. The children know our expectations and rise to them as a matter of course. As a reward for their efforts, we often play a game at the end of lunchtime. This either consists of guess the number game (I literally draw a number on the table with a cloth when I am wiping down the tables and the children have to guess it before I re-wipe it) or we play ask Mrs Bennett any (suitable and appropriate) questions that you like. This week, we played the question game. I get asked many questions throughout the weeks; what is your favourite colour? (Pink), what is your favourite jungle animal? (A panda), who are your second favourite football team? (Lincoln City), what is your least favourite food? (Bananas and custard), what did you have for your tea last night? (Roasted gammon and jacket potatoes), who are your top three favourite pop musician? (Rod Steward (all children looked at me blankly apart from one, who said ‘My granny loves him too’), Michael Buble and Taylor Swift). . .you get the gist.
Last week, I was asked a question that I couldn’t answer. The children asked me if I could go back or forward in time, where would I go to and why. Now this is a very hard question! I was honest with the children and my reply was neither as I am extremely happy with my life as it is now and I truly believe that you should live each day as it comes. However, as children do, they told me that wasn’t a suitable answer and I had to pick one of the options! Don’t you just love children! I actually couldn’t pick – I didn’t want to pick the future as I didn’t want to miss anything that was coming my way in the coming days, months and years and I don’t want to wish my life away but I also don’t want to go backwards. As much as I love my life to date, I have, as have we all, made some very questionable choices in the past! I don’t want to have to deal again with hard situations or make really heart breaking decisions that I have lived through once already. Thank you, Year 5, for the question that has been whizzing around my mind ever since!
Following on from this, I randomly read an article over the weekend asking a group of 90-year olds what advice they would give to their younger, 35 year old selves. I loved reading their advice and so I thought I would share some of them with you:
- Now and then, break out the fancy china and drink the good wine for no reason at all.
- Dance at weddings until your feet are sore.
- Tell your partner/your children that you love them every night before falling asleep. Someday you will wish you had just one more chance to do so.
- Don’t fear sadness, it sits right next door to love.
- Treat your body like a house that you need to love in for the next 70 years – eat well, exercise, sleep and laugh lots.
- Don’t shout – what does it achieve.
- Do one good deed every single day but don’t tell anyone about it.
- Don’t delay difficult conversations – they will be difficult now or in two weeks’ time.
- Find the things that make your eyes light up – do more of those things.
- Always remind yourself that your track record for making it through a bad day is perfect.
- If something has a minor issue, repair it. Minor issues become major issues over time. Apply this to love, friendship, health and your home life.
- No one has ever argued their way to happiness.
- If you are going to lose a fight, loose graciously, but make sure that person thinks twice about fighting you again in the future.
- You may occasionally disappoint others, make sure you don’t disappoint yourself.
- Treasure your friendships – they require work too. Send that text, make a call, arrange a dinner. . .
- When you meet someone, look them in the eye, give them a firm handshake and call them by their name.
- Give everyone a second chance.
- The ‘good old days’ are happening right now – enjoy them.
- Dance in the rain at least once.
- It is better to regret something you have done, than something you haven’t. Regret from inaction is always more painful than regret from action.
- If something is bothering you, ask yourself whether it will matter in once month. If not, let it go right now.
- You may win the argument, but if you lose the friend, what is the point?
- Stubborn pride is the downfall of many men and women. Learn to forget the slight hurts and avoid grudges.
- Allow your children to fail at somethings, you will hate it but it is so important for their learning.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.
So, I challenge you today to think of just one piece of advice you would offer your younger self. . .mine would be to accept that people and your relationships with those people change over time. Some relationships stands the test of time, others fade away – both bring with them special memories to be treasured . . .that and to avoid my beloved purple PVC trousers that were supposedly ‘cool’ in the 1990s!
Quote of the week: “Not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do is the secret to happiness.” – J.M.Barrie
Well-being tasks for this week: These tasks are for a happier start to the year. February’s tasks are based around being friendly.
Tuesday 31 January – Write down your hopes and your plans for the future
Wednesday 1 February – Send a message to a friend, let them know you are thinking of them
Thursday 2 February – Ask a friend how they have been feeling
Friday 3 February – Do one act of kindness to make someone’s life easier
Saturday 4 February – Invite a friend to have a cup of tea/coffee/juice/adult beverage* delete depending on your age/preference!
Sunday 5 February – Make time to check in on a neighbour
Monday 6 February – Get in touch with an old friend who you haven’t seen for a while
Jokes of the week:
Why don’t cats like online shopping?
They prefer a cat-alogue.
What do you call a tiger that drinks lemonade?
A sour puss.
What do you call a lazy baby kangaroo?
A pouch potato.
What do you call an alligator wearing a vest?
What do you get if you cross a Beatle and an Australian dog?
Sleeps til Santa: 327 sleeps til Santa
5 things that I am grateful for or looking forward to this week:
Can you try this simple exercise in gratitude and positivity?
- I am looking forward to visiting Year 4 on their residential
- I am looking forward to hearing more bird song in the mornings
- I am looking forward to going to see a gig with my dad on Friday
- I am grateful for phone calls with friends
- I am grateful for my cosy bed
I hope you all have a wonderful week,