CHISZ CHAIR LETTER TO PARENTS JULY 2014

Dear CHISZ parent

THE BEST OF ONE

With the FIFA World Cup upon us, we are yet again invited to answer the age-old question: who is the best player in the world? Many of us will have an opinion;some may name a player who never even played at the World Cup Finals, a certain George Best – as they said in his native Northern Ireland: “Maradona good; Pelé better; George Best.” He was an extraordinary player, an extraordinary person too, but was he the best?

Of course, one does wonderwhy anyone needs to answer this question – it does not prove anything, after all, and it does not affect anything.More importantly, we might well ask on what basis one is to judge who is the best? After all, how can one compare different players, with different roles, in different teams, especially from different eras?Furthermore, who says who is the best? And ultimately, who really cares?

I raise this question because many parents in CHISZ schools seem keen to claim that their child’s school is the best. I simply repeat what I said above – it does not prove anything (to claim to be the best school), and it does not affect anything. On what basis is one to judge which is the best? How can one compare different schools, with different compositions, in different areas, with different missions, especially from different eras?Who says whichis the best? Who really cares?

Instead, what we should be doing is recognising that we are all different and that that difference can assist us greatly. The spiritual lesson made in the Bible can equally apply to our schools – the body [CHISZ] is made up of many parts; the one part cannot say it does not belong to others; the one part cannot say it does not need others. No part of the body can say it is more important.

In the first half of this term, sixty-one CHISZ Heads gathered for their annual Conference where the theme was “Strength Through Diversity and Difference”. It is not a matter of which CHISZ school is best (none are) but of how we can find great strength in these difficult times through our differences. It is perhaps because we are afraid of other schools’ (and people’s) differences we have to invent a competition that will declare us to be the best. In the classic film “Cool Runnings” which told the wonderful story of the Jamaican bobsleigh team at the Winter Olympics, the Jamaicans wonder why they receive so much diatribe. One of them answers with insight: “We’re different. People are always afraid of what’s different.”CHISZ schools need not be afraid of each other nor do we have to try to prove we are better. We are different, not better nor worse. We are notcompeting against each other but co-operating with each other, for the sake of the young people of this country and for the sake of this country itself. We shouldcelebrate that andgain strength from that.

Jim Collins, the celebrated writer on ’greatness’, wrote that “Comparison, a great teacher told me, is the cardinal sin of modern life. It traps us in a game we can’t win. Once we define ourselves in terms of others we lose the freedom to shape our own lives.”[‘Built to Last’] We wish to have the freedom to shape the lives of our children. Solet us enjoy being different and let others enjoy their differences. CHISZ is determined to learn from each other, to work with each other. Do play your part as parents in helping your child to understand this important truth, in helping the school (and CHISZ as a whole) to be proud of its differences without trying to claim it is the best school.