Posted on January 23, 2018

I hope that you had a blessed Christmas and were able to have at least a little time off over the New Year period. It was fabulous to welcome back the students after such a long break; it has been so quiet around the School without them.

Summer is a great time to catch up on some reading. One book I really enjoyed was a classic, “The Road Less Travelled” by Scott Peck. Peck’s opening sentence is a truism (and a funny statement to make in my beginning of year newsletter): “Life is difficult.”

Peck talks a lot about suffering. Sadly, the reality of life is that we will be faced with difficult issues, with grief, hardship, pain.

Peck believes that the purpose of life is growth; growing as a person, growing spiritually to become more human, more like God. Suffering is not something that should be avoided, nor welcomed, but rather embraced as a chance to grow. He says that people who shy away from suffering, who avoid conflict at all costs, are stunted as people, they never really grow and flourish because they avoid the opportunity to become fully human.

At Paul’s School we believe that an education worth having is one that grows resilient, global citizens, who are innovative thinkers with a heart for servant leadership. Resilience is connected to suffering and growth – how we face life’s difficulties and learn from them.

Often as parents we fall into the love trap; we falsely believe that to truly love our children we should protect them from all of life’s hardships. While it is true that a parent’s role is to act as protector, it is primarily to grow the character of a young person so they can become independent people, ready to make their mark on the world.

True love does not look to protect from all of life’s ills, but to walk beside a person, empowering them to solve their own issues and problems so that they can become confident, resilient people.

In another great book (Visions of Vocation) Garber makes an equally true statement, “It is possible to get all A’s, but still flunk life”. What is the purpose of a great education? I believe it is to work in partnership with families to equip a young person for life, a life of flourishing.

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