As a child, my brothers and I used to collect the shells from our school’s shooting range, to use as currency for our weekly poker games. The phrases “I raise you”, “I see you” and “I stick” were all too familiar on a lazy Sunday afternoon. This week, Boris Johnson uttered the words “Lockdown” and that got me thinking…what would I do if this were a poker game and Boris was sat down at our dining table, enjoying a serious game of poker with the Schreiber bros and stared us in the face and said, “I say Lockdown and Social Distancing”. I know what I would say… “I see your Lockdown and raise you Social Appreciation”.
Allow me to explain…
Life is challenging now. As parents, we are no doubt more anxious than ever about our children and their future. And we should, at this time of the year, be thinking of Christmas presents, food, treats, how not to eat too much and how to survive a house full of family and in-laws! But instead, we are facing a rather uncertain and different looking end of term and year.
This is where I feel rather blessed and must be careful not to sound too smug but life, here at Hazlegrove, restores one’s faith in humanity and the children’s energy, fuels us all. Of course, things are a little different at school – we wash our hands now instead of saying that we did 😉; we observe social distancing; the children stay in a “base” classroom instead of moving around; rugby is non-contact; and we all face the same direction in the dining hall. But…we have definitely started to appreciate each other more – Social Appreciation is the name of the game. The children are more caring, kind, and thoughtful. The staff are even more committed to making their lessons exciting and interesting, ensuring that the children are making the most of the “new normal” and as a boarding community, we have slowed down a tad and taken even more time to consider the healthy, safety and well-being of all the children and the adults.
I know that Coronavirus is here and yes, the school looks different and the routine has changed but what has stayed the same, is the attention to detail and level of care that has always made HZG special.
From my daily devotional passage this morning: Stand firmly in the place where the dear Lord has put you and do your best there. God sends us trials or tests, and places life before us as a face-to-face opponent. It is through the pounding of a serious conflict that He expects us to grow strong…and the same is true of human life. The strongest and greatest character is grown through hardship.
I think that our children at HZG, find themselves in an environment that is loving, caring and safe, and importantly, one that has always allowed them to stand firmly rooted, able to grow splendidly, in the face of this hardship.
To Boris, I say: “I stick”, with facing this trial, with the help and support of everyone in the HZG boarding community.
HEAD of BOARDING