From the Head Master

This week marks the mid-point of Term 3, and it is safe to say that it is not the term that we had expected.

I lay in bed this morning, metaphorically girding my loins to face the day, and my mind went to the disappointments of the term. The list of things – events, experiences, practices – that have not taken place, and that may not take place, is lengthy for all of us.

On a personal note, I was sad to reflect on the fact that my nephew’s wedding cannot take place. I was sad that my daughter’s 21st birthday party can’t happen. I was sad that my recently-taken up hobby of golf has paused. I was sad because of the friends not seen, the holidays not enjoyed and the narrowing of my daily horizons. Without really trying, I came up with lots of things to be sad about. I don’t imagine that any of us would have difficulty compiling an equivalent and lengthy list.

As I consider the School, I feel sad for the boys. I feel for the Year 12 students who didn’t know that they were playing their final game in the green and white. I feel for the Pre-K boys, who have been separated from the lively chaotic tumult in which they thrive. I feel for the boys missing out on camps, or on concerts, or even the normal everyday experience of coming to School.

Although I do not have any specific inside information, just from reading the news, it seems highly unlikely that School will resume in any meaningful way this term. This led me also to think about those events that lie ahead of us which are at risk. It is inevitable that ‘missing out’ is going to be a universal experience this year, albeit particularised with personal nuances.

I think that my children would probably suggest that I was having a ‘pity party’. I think they are right. It can be strangely appealing to catalogue all of one’s losses, disappointments and griefs, to gather them all up, and to focus on them.

Of course, we need to acknowledge the legitimacy of our losses. We need to recognise that there is a real emotional impact from the circumstances that have come upon us. I would not suggest that denial is a good way forward, or that we should just jolly ourselves along.

However, my slide into sadness didn’t actually make anything better for me or for anyone else this morning. It didn’t improve the situation and it didn’t help me feel better. It certainly didn’t advance anything I have to do today. What did help was getting up and getting on with it. Going through the routines of showering, getting dressed and breakfasting. Making the list of things to get done. Starting to tick them off (including writing this article). Asking myself, before each video-conference or phone call, ‘What would the best ‘me’ look like in this encounter.’

None of those actions that I am taking actually compensates for my losses and sadness. Nor will they. But it is good for me and my emotional state, and it enables me to help and serve others. Other losses and sadness are yet to come; at some point we all walk through the valley of tears. The way out, of course, is to keep walking.

At my induction as Head Master, some three and a half years ago, I asked the School community to pray that I would have wisdom, stamina and faithfulness in this role. That request still stands. Be assured of my prayers for the families of our School community, asking that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will strengthen us in the trials of each day as we look to love and serve one another in these circumstances.

Detur gloria soli Deo.

Tim Bowden | Head Master


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