Give A Little Love

I wrote two weeks ago that we would do everything possible at this end “to provide the certainty and hope which we all need to get through the challenges ahead”. How wonderful it is to report, therefore, that the past week has also provided some initial rays of hope, some distant flickerings of light at the end of the tunnel. This may have come spiritually through Diwali, politically through recent events in America or Downing Street, medically through the vaccine news from Pfizer and Moderna, or even televisually through the launching of the latest John Lewis Christmas advert.

In the short to medium term, however, as we await 25 December or 20 January or the day on which our national vaccination programme begins, we must continue to reflect on what will get the Wellington Community – parents, pupils and staff – through the short to medium term challenges which lie ahead. In particular, what should our default setting be when it comes to how we interact and speak with each other? And how can our actions and words improve the lives of those around us and ourselves in the weeks ahead?

Last Friday was World Kindness Day and today sees the start of the annual Anti-Bullying Week which most schools mark every autumn. On Wednesday we will be wearing odd socks to raise awareness and stand in solidarity against bullying, and the College Prefects are working on House-specific kindness initiatives to raise morale and celebrate this key College Value. And herein lies one of the key ways in which we can all ensure that the coming weeks and months go as well as possible: by adopting kindness and empathy as the immovable basis for all our social interactions with others.

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? As the John Lewis advert so neatly demonstrates, all we need to do is engage in those little acts of kindness which cost nothing and help others. But the reality is more challenging. As happens every year at Wellington, pupils and staff are getting increasingly tired, as the days get darker and colder, and as the build-up of the Michaelmas Term slowly drains our reservoirs of energy. And that is before we even factor in eight months of COVID fatigue, the stresses and anxieties around the pandemic and the uncertainty of the future.

We hope that next week’s home clothes day, the Third, Fourth and Fifth Form lie-ins and the Sixth Form ‘off lessons’ days, which were announced in today’s Assembly, will go some way to boost morale and galvanise the troops through to Long Leave Weekend. When December arrives, we will also launch directly into full-on Christmas mode.

But I can’t help thinking that the very best thing we can do to keep spirits high and to support each other through the weeks and months ahead is simply to adopt a calm, kind and empathetic approach to the way in which we speak to and behave with those around us.

Ignoring the fact that in real life the 222 bus runs from Uxbridge to Hounslow, I think John Lewis have got it spot on with their exhortation for us all to “give a little love” this Christmas.

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