Headmaster’s thoughts – There’s nothing to it…
16th June 19
“If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanna change the world?
There’s nothing to it.”
Bear with me.
I have had the opportunity (twice this week) to get a little excited about something that I live and breath every day. Something that was reinforced when attending the Apple Distinguished Schools EMEIA Summit in Berlin a few weeks ago.
We are at the beginning (at least if you read what the World Economic Forum have described in their 2018 ‘Future of Jobs’ report) of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Our children will be entering a workforce and society that is possibly at one of the most exciting times in history. Our children are predicted to have multiple careers in their life. Let that last sentence settle in for a while. I have never left school. My career is education albeit going from the tracksuit to the formal suit. Were I to lose all of my senses and leave the extraordinary world of Park Hill how would I cope? What skills and abilities would I need to contribute and succeed (I will define success as actually enjoying my new profession)?
Well, the report which informs all that we do at Park Hill is good reading and explains what we as teachers and parents should be doing now to give our children the tools to flourish and thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
One of my favourites is the need for emotional intelligence.
Now, be honest. How many of us have wondered on how some of our former (I thought this would save blushes) colleagues and managers managed to get to their position in life with a complete absence of this particular skill? Or indeed, how many of our colleagues have stood out for their capacity to resonate with you because they have emotional intelligence?
My favourite ability is also recognised as essential.
Resilience is, at least to my mind, a crucial ability.
I know, I talk about it a great deal but how else do you bounce back from challenge? Know to keep going? Know that you can overcome? Know that things do come good? Know that people around you will help?
I do believe that we all have inexhaustible levels of this quality but that at some point in all of our lives we will have that questioned, more than once. Some look harder for environments to test this more regularly. I had a fascinating conversation with a gentleman who had climbed the seven summits. Just a week after the infamous ‘queue’ image from Everest I gently quizzed him on what levels of resilience he possesses, to put one foot in front of the other in the ‘death zone.’ In his case I would suggest it is down to meticulous planning, fitness, skill and his family.
Is resilience therefore closely entwined with confidence, quiet or otherwise?
I love our school attitude of ‘I can do that.’ The outcome matters less to me than someone standing up and saying I can do that, I will give it a go. This may be on the athletics track, classroom or stage but I think it is a wonderful trait.
How do we do grow this ability, or indeed emotional intelligence or resilience?
I will not pretend to possess all of the answers but perhaps it starts with us parents. How can I ever forget the sight of a nine year old boy flying down the wing at an under-9 rugby festival only to be tripped up by the parent of an opposition player? How can I forget standing poolside and about to start a Year 6 25m freestyle race only to hear a parent call out ‘win this race and I will buy you a bike!’ I still shudder at these memories of my time in a tracksuit.
Start by giving our children our time. Encourage them. Support them. Show them and tell them that you are there for them. Tell them not to worry when things don’t work out and work with them to try again, and again, to improve. Tell them that you are proud of them for getting back up and for not fearing failure.
Step in but don’t take over.
Exhibit resilience yourself and perhaps most important of all, be optimistic. As someone once said to me when my own resilience was being tested, there may be grey clouds but they will part and the sun will shine again.
Thank you, Dad.