08/09/2015

Twin Tracked Aspirational Wa!

Twin Tracked Aspirational Wa... I think I need another holiday!

Nothing like a bit of vintage Madonna to get you back into the working grove after the summer holiday! I hope you had a good one. I hope you still remember it!

Those of a certain age will, like me, probably recall this as essential holiday paraphernalia...

holiday camera

The Boots Beirette (made in the DDR, which dates it!) was my first 'proper camera'. I was very proud of it. And it delivered holiday memories in batches of 18, 24 or 36 depending on the size of film that you were adventurous enough to purchase. The joy of it all was that you had to wait two weeks for the prints to come back from the developers. And then the unadulterated excitement and eager anticipation of scrabbling open the pocket to re-live those special holiday memories all over again... Or dejectedly discover what you'd stuck your thumb over what you thought were the best ones in what turns out at best fuzzy focus!

Maybe it's just me, but the rise of the mobile device and the ubiquitous selfie mean that those precious moments are, in their spontaneity, then all too quickly forgotten in the next frenzy of sharing and tweeting! Hold on to those great memories, and appreciate their resonance over time.

What I do remember from my holiday this year is my leisure reading. And I've subsequently been reflecting on its relevance to what we aim to achieve at Park House. I've shared my thoughts with staff and students at school. Allow me to indulge myself again here for a moment... It will probably come as no surprise to regular visitors to the site that two of my main choices revolved around sport. And running in particular...

Summer reading

First, Sir Roger Bannister's Autobiography, 'Twin Tracks'. It's a very significant title. The book chronicles Bannister's pursuit of excellence - pushing back boundaries - in two parallel courses.  Many will of course associate his name with this landmark sporting achievement...

However, Sir Roger Bannister was in fact Knighted not for his achievement becoming the first man to break a seemingly impenetrable athletic barrier, but for his equally groundbreaking work as one of the world's leading neurologists.  

I love concept of 'twin track' excellence. Seeking and finding the potential for greatness in every individual; raising expectations so that they push back personal boundaries and delivering rounded learning opportunities which enable young people to simultaneously fulfil that potential across a variety of disciplines and activities. I think it is something we do very well here. And our students never fail to a amaze and inspire in how they rise so magnificently to the challenge...

Annabel Chaffey

My second choice of holiday reading was triggered by our recent engagement with the Organising Committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, supporting their development of a values-themed education programme to extend that established for London 2012...

Organising Committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
Organising Committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

'The Way of the Runner'. I wanted to find out more about Japanese sporting culture and it's context.  The centrality of this activity soon became evident...

Ekiden. It's an absolute passion. Every school has a team; every university has a team; every business has a team. Ekiden is the most watched event on Japanese television, with the main university and corporate relays run over the New Year period attracting viewing figures which eclipse the FA Cup, Boat Race and London Marathon rolled into one

Why? Ekiden transcends sport. It draws on something more fundamental about Japanese culture and society. It reflects...

Wa!

Wa!

It's not a concept that easily translates.

The best I can offer is the idea of the interdependence of all members of a community and the sense of social and emotional harmony that results from each individual doing their very best for the collective good of the wider society.

Ekiden

Although it doesn't translate easily into English, you can begin to understand how Wa explains the popularity of Ekiden. And vice versa. Each runners gives their all for the team, selflessly pushing themselves to the absolute limit for its success of and striving to pass on the sash - or Tasuki - in the very best possible position.  

And in all this it struck me that Park House is very much a community defined by Wa; a supportive and aspirational one in which individual endeavour and communal spirit are equally harmonised.

So reflection on my lasting memories of the summer holidays has confirmed to me what I believe we are all about at Park House. I think I knew all along anyway...

Twin Tracked Aspirational Wa all the way!

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