During half term, my family and I took a few days away from it all in the hope of catching some summer sun in Menorca. It was an ideal opportunity to spend some quality time together, which we did, but the sun was often missing despite its appearance in the holiday brochures and factoring in its inclusion in the blueprints for our holiday. We were told that we arrived on the island for the wettest May in 57 years. It’s always good to be a part of something exceptional! The children made light of the rain, arguing convincingly that if you spend all day in a swimming pool, you’re about as wet as you’re going to get in any case.
Each morning, I started the day by going for a run. Those of you who read ‘JT News’ or follow us on Twitter will note that the school has within its ranks of pupils, staff and governors some experienced and impressive runners who have consumed turf, track and tarmac in fun runs, marathons and even the 84 miles of Hadrian’s Wall. On the other hand, I have never run competitively, and last ran for “pleasure” about twenty years ago. My route was modest in the extreme (a gentle plod around the port area of Mahon), but I still believed I deserved a medal and one of those foil cloaks at the end of it. It is only when one attempts something seemingly straightforward that one appreciates the talents of those who are exceptional.
There are many authors and ‘life coaches’ who have written about what makes something or someone exceptional. Personally, I view exceptional acts as, de facto, being able to do something that most of us cannot: brain surgery, playing a piano concerto, designing a new car engine… or alternatively being able to do something most of us can do, but doing it really well: kick a football, write a poem, run.
In the last couple of months, our students have demonstrated their exceptional abilities by winning local and regional competitions in diverse areas such as public speaking, a mock trial, the UK Maths Challenge and the County Cup at rugby. They are currently demonstrating their exceptional academic abilities via examinations. Such achievements are a source of tremendous pride to all of us at John Taylor. However, as Jim Rohn notes, “we cannot change our destination overnight, but we can change our direction.” We can all improve. We can all make progress. We can all strive for better. And we can all take pride when we use the skills and abilities we have to achieve.
It’s called making the best of what we have. Just like playing in the swimming pool in the rain!