Happy New Year

Probably for the final time this year: Happy New Year.

I hope that you all had a wonderful break and you have been able to recharge the batteries. We know how challenging that first term can be for everyone; staff and pupils. The nights get longer, the days get shorter and colder and the challenges increase in proportion. However, we’ve turned something of a corner. We’ve had the shortest day now and so the nights will be getting a little shorter, the day is a little longer and we will wait a while for the weather to start to improve.

Many of you will have set yourselves and new year’s resolutions again this year. I hope that you are all holding firm and staying strong, however some of you may well have let things slip. Don’t beat yourself up about it either move on or resolve once more.

I have, yet again, given up coffee until the February half term holiday. I used to do this to encourage children to set themselves significant and meaningful resolutions – hopefully with a view to improving the quality of the work that they would be producing in the school or improving their behaviour in and around school; being Oakstanding. The pupils knew that I liked my decent coffee and so giving up on something that was a pleasure and would be difficult for me to do was my way of saying I stand by your side. In sharing this with the pupils I picked up from an old Boots pamphlet of some years ago a very useful mantra: Pledge, Plan, Persist.

In establishing new year’s resolutions, the idea of pledging to do something; i.e. talking about it and bringing others into your world; does have a positive effect. After that you have to plan; thinking very carefully about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. And then finally you are going to need to persist. If it’s not hard, it’s not difficult, is it worth doing?

In my world the pledge is the was the talking about it in an assembly, the planning was to find alternatives to coffee (in my case that was either lemon or lemon and ginger tea bags) and then the persisting is a very personal thing. However, because I talked about it the children would make sure that they reminded me and asked me, on a pretty regular basis, as to whether I was sticking to my resolution.

Many of us set new year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year to focus on self-improvement. That’s not a bad thing. However, one mustn’t put oneself in a position where it becomes something to hold one back, prevent success or enjoyment of life. Maybe sometimes as adults we should think about the sorts of things that we say to children about their self-improvement and how they can make progress. We wouldn’t ever force a child to do something that they weren’t completely committed to yet sometimes we do that to ourselves.

‘Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man’. Benjamin Franklin

I hope that you can stay committed to your resolution, if you set one. Either way whether you have or you haven’t, I do wish you a great year and hope that 2020 is positive.