students playing sports

The Head’s reflections on the week

Posted: 4th February 2022

The week began with the announcement of our second Scholarship award of the year, news of which you can find on page 2. Scholarship is a demanding process to go through, and not just with the pressure to perform at a very high standard in your chosen field. Scholarship can pit you against your best friend for the same award, and there is of course the prospect of applying for one and not receiving it. As parents and teachers I believe it is important to teach children strategies for dealing with disappointments and setbacks, especially as they reach the top of Prep School and prepare to move on to the challenges of Senior School. We know disappointments are an inevitable part of life but that does not mean that they don’t sting.

One approach is to look at challenges as a Leap of Faith and to be proud of yourself for trying. If you don’t take a path in life because it involves the risk of disappointment, you will ask yourself “What if?” many times after the moment has passed. Does a team turn down a place in a tournament for fear of not lifting the trophy at the end? We accept the concepts of victory and defeat readily when we play sport, but the parallels with Academia and Co-curricular life are closer than we might think. Winning and losing, in whatever arena, are part of life.

Another approach is to view a disappointing situation as a learning opportunity. Many times, parents want to shield their children from the pain of disappointment instead of seeing it as an opportunity for a child to say, ‘I can deal with this and this is what I’ve learned.’ Over time, this approach builds resilience and grit which are very important life skills. It does take some steely parenting, however; your own Leap of Faith.

Words like “resilience” and “grit” recur in the latest advice for how we should help children to develop. Ideas like “When you fall, fall forwards”, or even Samuel Beckett’s “Fail again, fail better” can go hand in hand with the old adage “Learn from your mistakes”. At St Christopher’s, we celebrate achievement of course, but we also celebrate effort and a growth mindset. I am proud of every child for their efforts and I am proud of all of our pupils who decided to pursue a Scholarship. For those who apply for Scholarships and do not receive them, the mindset should be “I went to my senior school and showed them my talents. I’m already on their radar and I haven’t even started there yet. A great place to grow from.”

Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head

Categories: Head's Reflections