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From the Base

See the forest despite the trees

It was my privilege to umpire and take a cricket team at the weekend. It was a very exciting game; earlier in the term we had been well beaten by our opponents, but this time it came down to the last over. A great game, enjoyed by boys and parents alike. The team showed remarkable levels of improvement all a coach can ever ask.

Afterwards, having given our boys a pep talk, we walked back up to school. One of the boys, a delightful and earnest lad, was talking to me. He batted towards the end of the innings and helped get us so very close to victory. I was very proud of him.

'I should have smashed that ball to the boundary.' he lamented.

'What about all the other runs you did score?' I replied.

He thought for a bit.

'But I should have hit the other ball for runs.'

I thought for a bit.

We continued to talk. But I was struck how, in all the positives of the game, he felt he needed to focus on just one part. 

This is common. He is a great kid, with many positive characteristics. So are many of our pupils. However, in a society where perfection is not only possible, but we even think it is 'likely', many of us can't see the forest for the trees. It takes effort to realise that 'almost', or 'close' or 'I did my best' is healthy and is actually normal. Sometimes we get what we want, sometimes we fall short. But, if we focus on negatives, without appreciating the positives, joy, learning and satisfaction will always be out of reach. And our mental health suffers for it.

At the end of our conversation, I had one last word with this boy. I made sure he understood that what he did WAS good enough, that he WAS successful, that what he had achieved DID mean something. Hopefully I nudged him along the path of his own personal development. Maybe he will take pleasure in what he and the rest of the team achieved.

Mr Shroff



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