I am one of a very small band of weird New Zealanders who, as children, did not play much rugby. Blame lies in part with Mother Nature, and in particular how she carved out the mountainous geography of my home region. I developed, as a consequence, a great passion for skiing when I was young. During my teenage years especially, I was easily able and lucky enough to cadge a lift up a mountain most weekends to enjoy a terrific day’s skiing with some school friend or other and/or their parents, such was the lure of the slopes for me.
International sporting fixtures such as the Rugby World Cup which, as I am sure many of you know is taking place at the moment, incite a sense of national pride in all of us, and I am no exception. Despite my lack of direct rugby playing experience, I am a strong supporter of the All Blacks! Mr Salt referred to them in his assembly in the Prep on Monday, as part of his very successful interpretation of our theme for assemblies this term ‘influencers and disrupters’. Mr Salt explained to us that a part of what makes the All Blacks such a great team is their focus on character development. He gave us some examples of the sorts of character traits the All Blacks try to grow in each player, such as humility and personal discipline and of course it was his recommendation that we might be influenced and inspired accordingly.
This term Mrs Howard begins a close and careful review of the arrangements we have in place for pastoral care at our school. She and I met this week to discuss her review and how we might seek to amplify further our care for the pupils here and in so doing influence their character development. There will be more to come from Mrs Howard on this in time, but fair to say our assembly theme is already giving the boys in the Prep and all the adults here plenty to think about in terms of their own social and emotional growth.
In the meantime, back to the rugby! England play their next fixture on Saturday and Scotland and Wales play on Sunday. The All Blacks play Italy next Friday night and aspects of personal character may well be tested in our household that evening!