The last 3 months have been challenging for so many people on so many levels; for some, perilous for their health, for others, damaging to their business, for older pupils, worrying for examination success and university places. Many have missed friends and relatives, others have missed loved activities and eagerly awaited opportunities.
As a keen student of history, I am reassured, however, by the many examples from the past of the supreme resilience of the British people, the crucial quality that the wonderful cricket commentator, player, coach and umpire David Lloyd calls ‘bouncebackability’.
This week’s assembly, therefore was about the importance of resilience; given the critical importance of this trait at this challenging time, we thought it appropriate to share this message a little more widely.
I am daily inspired by a picture which I have on my study wall. Painted by the wicket-keeper artist, Jack Russell, it depicts the great 11 hour cricketing test match duel between Russell, Mike Atherton, and the world’s fastest bowler (95mph!) , Alan Donald, which I watched in rapt fascination many years ago.
Ring of Fire
Many of our greatest tales have resilience as a key theme, few more so than on of my favourite books (and films), the Lord of the Rings, where, among all the heroics of elves, wizards, dwarves and men, there shines through the indomitable spirit of the tiny hobbits, led by Frodo, whose immortal lines, when much bigger and braver characters are uncertain, include the classic ‘I will take the ring to Mordor; though I do not know the way.’
One of my favourite actors is the hugely multi-talented Will Smith, and although I enjoyed him in action classics such as ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Enemy of the State’, for me, his ultimate performance comes as the incredibly resilient father in ‘The Pursuit of Happyness (sic)’, where his descent into poverty with his young son is as harrowing as it is ultimately uplifting. Based on a true story, this film can only stiffen the resolve of anyone who watches it.
One of my favourite assembly characters is the amazing Laura Kenny (nee Trott), whose early years on the cycle track were threatened by a constant and highly unpleasant physical reaction to exercise, but who in the last Olympics managed, with her husband, to win more medals between them than Australia!
I have no doubt that the children of Hill House have acquired, over the years, a high level of resilience which will see them come strongly through this period. I am impressed daily by the children’s qualities of perseverance, and also by those of my colleagues, who have worked so hard in such challenging circumstances to still provide a high quality education. I am humbled by the relentless positivity of a number of colleagues, who have rallied round to keep the show on the road.
I finish with a quote from Newt Gingrich; ‘Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.’
Please do join us for today’s senior school assembly……..