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From the Head - Headmaster's Newsletter 28 November 2019

Dear Parents,

My newsletter at the end of this year is actually directed at the boys. Perhaps you will ensure that all your sons read this?

Gentlemen of Hilton,

A few thoughts for this December holiday:


Although receiving Christmas presents is a ritual we enjoy and one which affirms our sense of worth, it is really NOT about the stuff. What makes this a difficult lesson to learn and to internalise is made all the more difficult by our continuing with the emphasis on material gifts. My appeal is that you, as young men, make a choice to de-link yourself from the stuff. Avoid the malls if you can. Write a letter of appreciation to your parents and family members - it means so much more than more stuff.


In more than one study on wellness, the art of being thankful translates into being able to live a happier life. Your parents have given you the most unbelievable start in life by affording you the opportunity of attending this school. Your task is to express your thanks to them for their sacrifice in giving you the gift of this education.


At the best of times, growing up is tough. Every part of your person is trying to find its identity. You are wanting everything to go your way, all of the time. You know you are right - your parents are idiots - they cannot see what you know for certain. Sadly, this is fake news. Your parents have lived longer and learnt more than you may care to admit at this stage of your life but it’s true. They are NOT the enemy; they have your best interests at heart. Parents are, however, fallible too. We do make mistakes but they are never intentional - understand this. There are always many competing needs in a family and sometimes your need may not be the highest on the list of priorities. Deal with it.


Make this holiday period memorable for your family by being the one who does the most for your family and friends. Be the gentleman who offers to help at family dinners. Be the gentleman who ensures that guests are made to feel welcome. Be the young man who entertains the smaller children (cousins, siblings, friends) at family gatherings. Be the young man who demonstrates that you do not need to be the centre of attention.


We are addicted. Admit it. Switch off your device for six hours per day this holiday. Get the entire family to do this every day at the same time for the same duration. Connect with each other. The earth will continue to spin and not much will change for the 6 hours you are not in touch with your virtual world. I cannot sugar-coat this; our connected world is hindering our progress as we mature as adults. Embrace the challenge. #6-hours-of-freedom


Our days are busy, our lives are full - a wonderful gift - however, we must learn to connect with ourselves more regularly. As Grade 10s the solitaire you experienced on The Journey gave you a window into taking time to be with yourself and to reflect. Make this more of a habit. Take time to go for a walk on the beach, by yourself, without your device. Ride your bike out in the countryside. Play a round of golf - on your own. Paddle up a river on your own. Practise the art of being with yourself.

Enjoy the freedom of carefree days. Enjoy the privilege of knowing you are cared for and taken care of by your family. Lastly, wash the dishes, make your bed, be the man you know you can be. This is the best gift you can give your parents.


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