Prep Headmaster’s Blog: ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’

Have you ever sat there and felt that you are faced with an unsolvable problem? 

I’m sure we have all felt this way on occasions, probably more frequently over the past 15 months. It was this theme that I decided to pick up on in the Prep School’s assembly last week by focusing on the importance of always asking for help in such situations.

I started by posing them a mathematical challenge which I am also going to present to you today - please do email me your solutions!  I will award some HMC’s for correct parental offerings!  The challenge is to arrive at the number in the centre by using each of the numbers in the corners only once! Good Luck.



I then shared with the children the following short story:

A long time ago, there was a man who lived with his three children in the desert.  He had a successful business buying and selling camels, and when he grew old, he made a will in which he left half of his camels to his eldest child, a third of his camels to his middle child and a ninth of camels to his youngest child.  When he died, there were 17 camels in his herd.

This is an impossible task because 17 cannot be divided by 2,3 or 9, so the three children were left with a dilemma.  Fortunately, they had good neighbours who advised them to visit a wise woman who lived nearby and might be able to help them.  They took their neighbours’ advice and went to explain their problem to her. 

Surprisingly, the wise woman told the children to borrow one of her camels and the problem was solved.  The loan of the camel meant that the children now had 18 camels altogether.  The eldest got nine, the middle child got six and the youngest got two.  This left one camel, which was returned to the wise woman.
Although an ancient story, we can all sometimes feel a problem has no logical solution.  It is therefore important to realise that sometimes, we need others to sort out a problem.  There is also the famous saying. ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’

I was very grateful to Reverend Little and Mr Pathak, Head of History and Politics in the Senior school, for their chapel service this week which highlighted the wonderful work of our school’s Diversity Committee.  Composed of Senior school pupils and staff their work has focused on diversity within the school and beyond.

I am excited by the fact that from September this will also comprise of Felsted Prep School pupils and staff - working alongside our senior colleagues to continually improve things for everybody.
Have a good week.

Simon James


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