I heard a lovely story recently.
A little five year old was holding two apples in her hands. With a smile, her mum approached her and asked her daughter if she would share one of her apples? The girl looked up at her mum for a few seconds, and then suddenly took a quick bite of one of the apples and then a bite of the other. Her mother was shocked and tried hard not to reveal her disappointment in her daughter. How had she raised such a selfish child? As the mother pondered on this, her daughter proceeded to hand her one of the bitten apples. The daughter then said, ‘Here you go mum, this one is the sweetest’.
I am sure that we can all empathise with this mother. Perception can be very misleading and no matter who you are, how educated, accomplished, or knowledgeable, there is much good that can come from delaying judgement. Allowing others to present their case or their view of the world is empowering for everyone. Over the years, I have collected a selection of quotes, poems and stories that have moved me. Ironically I came across this quote by French author Anaïs Nin- “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”
How true are these words? Our own education and experiences can greatly influence our view compared with the person sitting next to us who is viewing exactly the same event.
This concept is particularly important when applied to our children. We analyse their smiles, their stance, their alertness or lack thereof. I spend many lunchtimes with our girls to deduce how they are travelling. I have become very astute in ascertaining when to take a seat or when the girls prefer that I move on! What I have learned is that when we engage in genuine care, honest communication and really listen, there leaves little room for preconception or false judgement. Children need us to be good listeners, to empathise and not to allow our experiences to dictate our actions or responses. Empathy is a truly skillful art and when mastered, breaks down the barriers for communication.
I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes and I admire the manner with which he perceives the world. In a recent episode Holmes and Watson, decided to go on a camping trip. Soon after heading off to bed, Holmes wakes up and notices something amazing. He nudges a sleepy Watson and asks him ‘Watson, what do you see?’ Watson replies, ‘I see millions of stars’. Holmes then asks, ‘And what does that tell you?’ Watson rubs his eyes and really thinks about what Holmes is asking. After a minute, he replies, “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Theologically, I can see that there is a higher being and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, Holmes?” Holmes replies, ‘It tells me that someone has stolen our tent!’
I close by wishing each of you a safe and enjoyable Semester break. Thank you for your continued support of our school and more importantly for the trust you place in us to inspire, nurture and nourish your daughters in our values of Respect, Courage, Character and Curiosity.
Mrs Deborrah Francis
Head of Senior Girls, Wellbeing