Prep Headmaster's Blog: Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible

Over the Easter break I have enjoyed reading Clare Balding’s (the TV presenter and journalist’s) latest book entitled “Fall Off, Get Back On, Keep Going-10 ways to be at the top of your game”.  Written predominantly for Prep School aged children it explores 10 character-traits - Resilience, Patience, Confidence, Courage, Flexibility, Creativity, Speaking Out, Motivation, Kindness and Keeping Going - that can help children to learn to embrace their mistakes, own them, and move on from them.

In a recent assembly I shared her thoughts on Kindness and thought I would take this opportunity to pass them on via the newsletter here.

The Dalai Lama once said “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” 

Clare’s childhood experiences taught her some of the more important lessons about kindness that she’s carried with her through the rest of her life:

Give out kindness and you’ll get it back.  

Kindness has a ripple effect. If you are kind to someone, in turn they’ll be kind to someone else.  It’s like handing on a relay baton in a race.

Kindness helps us to like ourselves as well as other people.

She has a theory that being kind is like baking a cake. She discusses the idea that if we were making a Cake of Kindness, what would the ingredients be? She chose the following:

Like butter, patience is one of the essential ingredients for your Cake of Kindness
My top tip is to wait as long as it takes for someone to accept your offer of help.
Like baking itself, patience takes practice!

Allowing someone else to talk and making the time to truly listen. Active listening is a skill that involves shutting off your own thoughts, and devoting your mind and energy to what someone else is saying without interrupting! 

Physical Support
Carrying, holding a hand, helping out - all of these show kindness and consideration.  This is like the baking powder in your cake. It helps your (or in this case, you) to rise up and support your friends!

Lending your voice
Speaking up for someone else to show them that you care and you are behind them.  Putting your feelings into words isn’t always easy, but your friends can’t read your mind, no matter how brilliant they are!

Even if you don’t have enough, sharing is a sign of kindness and respect.

She is a huge believer in the power of laughter as a way to spread kindness around.  It feels great to be able to make someone burst into giggles or produce a big, beaming smile.  For me, this is the cherry on the cake!

I think you’ll agree that these ideas and ingredients make the perfect mix and it was wonderful to share these thoughts with the pupils.

Next week we will be asking the children to take part in 'The Big Ask' survey organised by the new children's commissioner, Rachel de Douza (  It focuses on making sure that the people in power listen to what children need and want.  

Simon James


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