Dear KES Family,
One of the questions I ask prospective students is: “If you had one magic wish, one in which anything you wished for would come true, what would you wish for?” The most common answer is: “I would wish for more wishes.” This week I had an uncommon answer. When I asked this question of a 14-year-old boy his immediate answer was that he wished his younger sister would always be happy. My heart melted. I asked him if his sister had been sad and he answered: “No, she is always happy. This is what I hope never changes.” What was left of my heart melted completely.
Isn’t he the big brother every little sister dreams of? The one who will look out for his sister, whose instincts are to protect her from harm, to love her, and to keep her happy?
As we talked some more, I realized that he was absolutely genuine in every way. He understood that life has the potential to change people, to strip youth of their innocence. At 14 years old he is aware that his sister had a special quality of joy and laughter within her which he appreciates immensely. His wish is that this never changes, that life never grinds her down.
His words caused me to reflect on my own life and the life and values of King’s-Edgehill School. We cannot cocoon children out of fear that their spirits will be broken. Our graduates need to be prepared for adulthood and the realities of life. At the same time we cannot take away the joyous energy and innocence of childhood that we cherish so much. There is a balance between inspiration and preparation, preservation and exposure that needs to be found. We need to be able to talk about serious social issues, injustices, and conflict in and out of class time. Peter Pan only flies when he has “happy thoughts”, but Never Never Land is not the real world. Peter Pan does not want to grow up. For a school to be successful and meaningful in its preparation of young adults, helping our students to fly, to keep their happy thoughts while being grounded in reality, is perhaps our greatest challenge.
This week in pictures.