Senior Headmaster’s Blog: Making a difference at Christmas

As we have moved into December, thoughts are turning towards Christmas, and for some they have been there for a few weeks already!  Lights and trees seemed to go up a little earlier this year, but even as someone who thinks that decorations should wait until Christmas Eve, and shopping sometime after that, I can understand that this year is a bit different, and it is actually quite nice to have something to celebrate!

One of the things to think about is what you want to give (or receive) this Christmas.  We have been looking for ways to support our school charities over the last few weeks, when major events have not been possible, and we have not been able to go on trips.  The Safi Coffee hampers and stocking fillers have been popular, while Magic Bus face coverings do a great deal of good, as well as being a strong fashion statement!  Manor House have produced an excellent cook book that supports Farleigh Hospice, while the houses are continuing to support food parcels through the Felsted Mission. It has been a tough year for a lot of charities, and it would be a good year to think of Christmas as a time of giving to those most in need, if you are able to do so. Please click here to view our Felsted Christmas Giving page. 

My other recommendation for Christmas is to give books.  Of course, many children will ask 'what is wrong with a computer game/new electronic device', and there is nothing wrong with those, but there is also nothing wrong with a book, and in fact, a good book can be far more rewarding.  I was a very poor reader for many years, and rarely opened a book (apart from cricket biographies), but I am so glad that in the last half dozen years I have rediscovered the joy of reading.  A few quick recommendations from me that some of you might enjoy - 

Education/growing up - 'The Incredible Teenage Brain' by Bettina Hohnen, Jane Gilmour and Tara Murphy is a must read for all teachers, parents and teenagers on why teenage life is not always easy to navigate

Leadership - 'Turn the Ship Around' by L. David Marquet tells the true story of how Marquet turned the worst submarine in the US Navy into the best, and changed their approach to leadership forever

Non-fiction - 'Enrique's Journey' by Sonia Nazario is eye opening to the story of an illegal immigrant making his terrifying way into the US to find his mother

Novel - this year I read the most beautiful 'Where the Crawdads Sing' by Delia Owens, and cannot recommend it highly enough

Sport - in my view, there is no better book than 'Open' by Andre Agassi.  You don't have to be a tennis fan to enjoy this incredibly honest story of life becoming a world number one, while hating the game.

Of course, the beauty of books is that for everyone out there, different stories will resonate in different ways for different people.  I am sure that you can find your own favourites, and if you have something really good that you would like to recommend to others, please do share with us, and we can share with the Felsted community.  Happy reading!

Chris Townsend