From the Headmaster
| In Pursuit of Happiness|
There has been a healthy shift in the public consciousness regarding our mental and emotional health. As a nation we are becoming increasingly articulate; at least from an emotional perspective. Whilst some might feel uncomfortable with the candid revelations of celebrities and royalty, there is no doubt in my mind that such openness has led to important and long-overdue conversations. Furthermore, it has resulted in a growing acceptance that we should not distinguish between physical or emotional problems in terms of which is more important or deserving of our attention.
When I first arrived at Rossall, there were concerns that I wanted to make the School ‘more academic’ and that this would, inevitably, be at the expense of our children’s happiness. For some, happiness was read as a felicitous state of being that would automatically result from an absence of expectation or personal aspiration. Admittedly, there are times when we would all be tempted to sympathise with that view. I have often kidded myself that I would be happy were I to take a job in a hardware store. In my dreams, I map out an alternative existence, where I potter from aisle to aisle with a beaming smile on my face as I help customers locate screws or drill bits. A relative who has spent his working life in just such a store recently shot my dreams down in flames. The customers are not always as cheery as I would like to imagine and staff have to remember where to locate 20,000 different products which does not sound so much fun.
At the moment, we tend to dream of all the things that we would do if we were not in ‘lockdown’ – holidays that we would take and friends whom we would meet. All these things might make us happy in the short term but experiences and the acquisition of ‘stuff’ cannot sustain us. Pleasure that results from new experiences is something we should enjoy. However, the emotion quickly drifts away – much like water seeping through cupped hands.
It strikes me that we should be striving for fulfillment much more than happiness, which is a transient sentiment. Happiness can only really be measured against periods of despondency and unhappiness. After all, if environmental factors, success and wealth all served to make us truly happy then why is Hollywood synonymous with tragic personal narratives of excess and misery? Of course, many self-help gurus have made millions by claiming to know how to achieve happiness. Schools have claimed that they can ‘teach’ happiness as if it is a skill or state of being that can be acquired through diligent study. It is a conceit which does not take account of our true state of being.
David Robson, the science writer and author of The Intelligence Trap argues in The Guardian that populist and oft-cited strategies such as ‘visualising your success’ are, ultimately, not especially helpful. Professor Gabriele Oettingen at New York University suggests that such strategies are counterproductive. Dieters who pass their hours imagining a newer and more healthy figure actually lose less weight than those who do not entertain such thoughts. Similarly, there is little evidence that dreaming vividly about future professional success is, of itself, of much use. Of course, sitting here imagining a gold medal around my neck as I stand on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics is not going to make me any more likely to outpace Justin Gatlin in the 100m final.
We should be teaching young people that a fulfilling and meaningful life does not result from being in a state of nirvanic bliss. It is unrealistic because, as we all know, life is full of challenges, frustrations and loss. Similarly, encouraging young people to think that their personal happiness constitutes a fundamental right will leave them feeling dissatisfied and more likely to make decisions which are less considerate of others. A relentless focus upon one’s own happiness will not necessarily make you any happier. True fulfillment comes from having the opportunity to enrich the lives of others and engage in activities that provide one with a real sense of purpose and meaning. Well lived lives are full of highs and lows. Sadness, loss, anxiety, happiness, excitement are all emotions worth feeling. An acceptance that our emotional range is to some extent dictated by the extraordinary complexity and beauty of our existence is liberating. There is nothing wrong with us for feeling all of these emotions in quick succession.
People often talk about the need to put their own happiness first. We would all want our children to be especially attentive to their emotional and mental health. However, excessive navel gazing is not always healthy. When we tell our children that we just want them to be happy or that nothing matters more than their happiness, we might well be filling their minds with unrealistic expectations. We might, inadvertently, be setting them up for a life of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, life is amazing and is filled with moments of joy, excitement and happiness. We are sustained by the love of family and friends and it is good to have goals and dreams. However, there is more to life than this and the self-centered pursuit of happiness has founded an industry that is built upon little of meaning whilst leaving us all feeling a little less satisfied. Our morale or moods are not immutable or quantifiable in the way that is suggested by the reductive and trite questions so often asked of us in online surveys. We are complex, fascinating and responsive to the world around us. As sentient beings we need to embrace life in all of its vividness and hold precious those relationships and emotions that serve to sustain us through difficult times. However, our children do need to know that it is also fine to feel frustrated or sad and that giving expression to such emotions is normal and simply part of what it means to be alive.
Mr Jeremy Quartermain
Headmaster of Rossall School
Message from the Junior Headmaster
What an incredible week of learning we have enjoyed in the Junior School. Right the way from Reception to Year 6, there have been interactive Zoom lessons that have led to some amazing work being completed. I have been buoyed by the superb attitude of all of the pupils, as they engage in either remote learning or our key worker provision. To finish the week with the entire school on a Zoom awards assembly was possibly the best run into a weekend that we could have had. Happy children praised for both their collective and individual efforts; together we are a strong community who can and will succeed.
In a fabulous good news story, I am delighted to announce that the running total for our various collections for Brian House, now stands at a jaw-dropping £2,320.40! What a superb effort from all of our children and extended families before Christmas. We are in the process of arranging a Zoom assembly to present this staggering total to representatives from the charity, who will inform the children exactly how the money will be used and why it will make such a huge impact in the lives of others. Congratulations to all children who took part (and to the family members who donated!). Again, the strength of the Rossall community shines through.
Have a relaxing weekend.
Headmaster of Rossall Junior School
|JUNIOR & NURSERY NEWS|
Please click here for this week’s Junior and Nursery Newsletter.
As you know, our students come from all over the world. We would like to share some of their cultures with you and have created a series entitled, ‘Exploring Cultures’. In our first video, Year 13 student, Anastasia Guledani (Dolphin House) talks about her home country of Georgia. Did you know they were the first country to invent wine? We hope you enjoy.
|ASSEMBLY – MONDAY 10TH JANUARY 2021|
A warm welcome back to Rossall School. In the first assembly of the Lent Term, Mr Quartermain looks to the future, Ms Porovic discusses setting realistic and achievable New Year’s Resolutions and Year 13 student, Lan Lan performs a beautiful piece on the piano.
Year 12 IB students, Georgia Oldham and Sam Ayoma have written, composed and performed their own piece of music using the lyrics from the poem ‘Lullaby’ by WH Auden. The class were encouraged to “get a little creative” for a task exploring the poets work. English Teacher, Tom McNab commented: “Georgia and Sam encapsulating the mood & tone of the poem just right”, and both students and teacher could not wait to share.
|RECENT SUCCESS FOR EMILY|
Congratulations to Year 12 student, Emily Yang who has gained her ARSM diploma in piano from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). This is a post Grade 8 qualification and one which only a very small number of students her age would gain. It is an incredible achievement for Emily, and Emily’s piano teacher, Miss Nguyen and Director of Music, Mr Dobson wish to congratulate Emily and share her success.
|JOSH HEADS STATESIDE|
This week, Old Rossallian, Josh Hamnett said goodbye to the UK and hello to the USA where he will spend the next few years studying at Missouri Southern State University and playing collegiate golf. We wish him the very best of luck!
|MR SHARPE’S MATHS CHALLENGE|
LAST MONTH’S ANSWER
Did you manage to solve Mr Sharpe’s puzzle?Dave’s Christmas Regret
Dave spent far too much over the Christmas period and feels a little sad about it all. He asked his boss for a pay rise and, much to his surprise, is given one.
He then earns 10% more than he did before Christmas.
His bosses then changed their minds and reduce his pay so he only earns 90% of his new wage.
Does he still earn more than he did before Christmas?
You could do this by picking a wage, increasing it by 10% and then reducing the new amount by 10% and see if the final wage is higher or lower than the original wage.
The quickest way is to realise that to increase an amount by 10% you simply have to multiply by 1.1 (1.1 is the decimal equivalent of 110% which is the percentage of his original wage he would earn after a 10% payrise).
To decrease by 10% you have to multiply by 0.9 (as he would then earn 90% of the wage after the 10% raise).
So to see if he earns more or less than he originally did we can simply do
1.1 x 0.9 = 0.99.
This is the decimal equivalent of 99% which mean he now earns 99% of his original wage. Poor Dave!
THIS WEEK’S PUZZLE:
The Future is Covered in Chickens
In the year 2035, the chickens have run amok in the grounds of Rossall School, they are everywhere you look!!
One teacher wants to figure out how many chickens there are on the grounds and so one day he heads out and catches 40 of the pecky beasts! He tags them and lets them go.
The next day he along with some of his colleagues catch 250 chickens and find that 5 of them are tagged.
Use this information to estimate the number of chickens which roam the grounds of Rossall in the year 2035.
|ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES |
Pupils are extremely fortunate at Rossall to have a wide variety of extracurricular opportunities available to them and there are no exceptions during lockdown 3.0.
The activities highlighted in this timetable can be accessed in School and from home, and a version with links has already been shared with the pupils directly
At 14.40 each weekday departments are hosting revision sessions for the Year 11 and Year 13 pupils. All the information in regards to the sessions has been communicated to the parents and pupils directly.
|BOARDERS EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES|
Please click here to view the timetable of the boarders extra-curricular activities.