“Someone’s going to cry…”, “If you pull a funny face and the clock strikes 12, you’ll be stuck like that” and “Your teeth will fall out if you eat too many sweets” are just some of the adages shared by my father and no doubt, many parents out there. As true as some of these are, there are a few more that I have held in even higher regard and have, in no small part, helped form the person that I am today; and they are:
If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it.
Treat everyone the same, whether prince or pauper.
It is not enough for a school to claim that they are not an unkind school. (I think most places would claim that). What’s more important and indeed telling, is if a school can claim that they are a kind school where respect for others, kindness, tolerance, acceptance and love are seen to be in abundance. The actions and the language used in the school community should tell a story.
Hazlegrove is a kind school. I see this all the time – in the dining hall, where a child pours someone a drink; in the classroom, where someone listens patiently to others; on the sports field, where everyone is encouraging and accepting of mistakes; and in the Boarding Houses, where the boarders treat each other like family.
As parents, we insist that our children speak kindly to others and this is reinforced at HZG – we don’t make excuses for unkindness and bullying. We don’t tolerate children speaking ill of each other. But more importantly than this stance, is that we encourage the opposite. We do this by being good role models and we foster this by engaging in the lives of the children. And the proof is in the pudding. We have a community that definitely cares.
I was asked recently, by a prospective parent, if children from different backgrounds are treated differently. I backed up the quote from my father with a quote from Nelson Mandela:
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Our children at Hazlegrove treat everyone with the same amount of respect because they have been taught to do this, by you and by the boarding and school staff. And for this I thank you.
We, at Hazlegrove, will continue to stamp out unkindness but more crucially, we will continue to promote and encourage the kind and caring culture that we all want for our children; and this starts with the words of wisdom that we all impart to our children…no matter how truthful or not.
HEAD of BOARDING