“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”. Leonard Cohen

There has been plenty to cause us to reflect and be respectful, perhaps even mourn this week. 11am Friday 11 November saw our country come to a halt for 2 minutes, to remember those who have given their lives across 2 world wars and 102 years of military service.

Wednesday saw the US election promote the ‘least well qualified’ candidate to the White House, and some of the cartoonists caused the Statue of Liberty to veil her eyes.

Leonard Cohen died today, and with the death of the author to the title of this piece comes an opportunity to celebrate a core belief in my work. As regular readers of my blog and emails will know, a mix of predictive texting and a rush to publish on occasion leads to fluffs, spelling and grammar infarctions. However, fundamental to working in education is to understand that it is not a perfect process, but a journey in which teachers & children need to explore, learn from their mistakes and work in the ‘gaps’ together. 

Cheerfully this week, research highlights that time spent guiding or scouting promotes life expectancy in ways the church service or sports club does not. Other evidence highlights why; the majority of children aged under 5 are no longer physically sufficiently well prepared for school, and subsequently because of a learned unwillingness to be active, the arrival of high levels of obesity and early onset diabetes. 

Cohen was an extraordinary craftsman, as poet and melody maker. His longevity as author and performer makes his last album ‘You want it darker’ as important as any others. Personally I don’t want it ‘darker’, so I won’t be working to fill the gaps. Children need to play more together and with adults, so time must never be filled with planned activity at the expense of those freedoms. And opportunities to make mistakes need to be planned in, so in failing, the child and adults develop the resilience to bounce back and recover.

Light brings so many and varied opportunities for us to see and do everything; it’s arrival needs to be planned but also lucky and occasional in addition,  so we make the most when we have its benefits. Structure is all important, as there are plenty things we need to get done and in good time  – but do let’s remember that we need those cracks, to let the light in!

About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
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