Head Lines

Thursday, June 06, 2019

When my daughter was quite young she was given a dream catcher. Like most dream catchers, it had a small circular wooden frame (maybe 8” in diameter), with artfully woven strings across the center of the circular hole, which created a net or web of sorts. Jasmine’s dream catcher was embellished with beads and a feather. It hung beside her bed. The purpose, according to many First Nations People, is for the dream catcher to filter out bad dreams and allow good dreams to pass through. She loved it and said that it worked!

I have long wished that I had one of my own.

Since adolescence, never have two words interrupted my sleep patterns more than the words: final examinations. Each word, in itself, is so weighty. And combining the two words can result in nothing short of pure fear! Those two words have provided rich content for my own nightmares over the past 40 years.

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

This past weekend, Trinity College School hosted our annual Reunion Weekend. It is one of my favourite weekends of the year for a host of reasons. It is heartwarming to watch old friends who have not seen each other in 50 years embrace. I enjoy sharing a beverage and catching up with alumni who have graduated five years ago, many of whom I have not seen since Speech Day 2014. I love seeing and hearing the reactions of alumni as they tour our new campus facilities and, in particular, I cherish Sunday morning when we all come together to sing Jerusalem in chapel.

While Reunion Weekend at TCS is always an incredible event, here are a few additional remarkable (and fun) facts from reunion 2019 which demonstrate the priority our alumni put on returning to campus for this special event:

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Do you have a “proudest moment”? And by that I mean, do you have an accomplishment or instance of your own, that you are most proud of? I am not speaking about something that your child did, or your spouse accomplished, but instead, something that is specific to just you.

Our individual moments of self-pride are not something we regularly talk about. It would certainly be unusual to call for everyone’s attention at a cocktail party for the singular point of telling all those in attendance how truly great you were on a particular occasion. But, when you quietly reflect on your life, is there a moment in time that pops to the forefront, when everything fell into place, or made sense? Or when you were victorious, or achieved a lifelong goal, or attained something you never thought was possible?

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How do you explain seemingly incomprehensible events of peculiar happenstance that we all have experienced at one time or another in our lives? Do you typically chalk up such oddly connected occurrences as coincidence? Good luck or bad fortune? A blessing or a curse? God’s plan? Destiny? Or, perhaps, you reflect on the old adage of “good things happen to good people” or credit karma, believing that “what goes around, comes around.” Or maybe events are just a result of “the fickle finger of fate.”

Have you thought very much about how your life’s path would have changed if you had not met your sweetheart at the high school dance? Or, if your friend hadn’t introduced the two of you? Or, have you considered the frightening consequences of a near miss on a snowy highway? What if you hadn’t been accepted into your university of first choice? And, think of the potential opportunity missed if you had not seen that posted job ad.

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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Disclaimer: I love math. Honestly. It was my best and favourite subject in high school. And, I taught mathematics for several years before I came to TCS. So this is not an anti-math blog post. But, I do have a pet peeve that I need get off my chest. Please see below.

Why do so many university business programs insist on students (yes, including my son, hence the emotion) taking, and having to achieve a high average, in calculus to be considered for admission? In addition, once students are accepted into the business program, they have to take yet another calculus course.

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Wednesday, May 01, 2019

When I was in high school, in the basement lunch room that boasted no natural light, I ate a disproportionate number of cheese and pickle sandwiches. I would venture to say that I ate cheese and pickle sandwiches four out of five days a week. It was considered a bad lunch bag day when pickle juice softened (if not liquefied) my plain white sandwich bread. I am not blaming my mom or dad. I just don’t think there were many options when it came to offering a bagged lunch.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

For years I had hoped that at some point in the not-too-distant future I would be able to organize a large party so that I could express my appreciation for all the people who have enabled me to live the quality of life that I have enjoyed over the course of my lifetime. Family, friends, colleagues and recent acquaintances would all enjoy “high tea” in The Lodge Garden, on a sunny Sunday in June.

The occasion would also provide me with a speaking opportunity to acknowledge the good luck, blessings, good fortune and great timing of many circumstances and events which have also contributed to the wonderful personal and professional life that I continue to enjoy.

Days, months and years after the event, I would reflect upon, with a smile, the large framed black and white photograph, placed on the fireplace mantelpiece in the living room, that captured the occasion; people smiling at the camera with raised champagne-filled flutes.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Two of my favourite questions to ask people about their chosen profession or career are: What was the most unexpected aspect of your job? And, what is your favourite part of your job?

When posed the question about what they found to be most unexpected about their jobs, responses I received have included: pilots telling me that flying was actually "kind of boring," professional golfers who reported "hating" golf at times, architects who disdained the significant portion of their day spent managing their business rather than designing buildings, teachers who didn't realize they had to be on their feet so much of the day and business owners who wanted to be their own boss but then came to recognize that their customers were effectively their bosses!

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

I set a personal goal for myself this year: to learn to be a better listener. I took motivation from expressions that included, “be quick to listen, slow to speak” and “we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” In my role as headmaster of Trinity College School, I have intentionally opted not to speak at each and every school event or during every chapel service. There is great value in having others lead, motivate, recognize, inform and celebrate. The school community does not need to hear my voice starting and finishing all events.

Considering my listening skills, I have learned two important things this year: 1) I still have some work to do on my listening skills, and 2) I am a very critical listener of public speeches. In fact, poor public speaking has crept up my pet peeve list.

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Thursday, April 04, 2019

The long-standing folktale that was popularized by the children’s storybook, The Little Engine That Could, authored by Watty Piper and first released in 1930, has certainly seemed to provide Trinity College School with tremendous motivation on a number of fronts recently, not the least of which is in the area of athletics.

To remind you of this beloved tale, that is believed to date back to 1906 but is just as relevant today: the little engine is needed to pull a long and heavy train over a very high mountain after the train’s original engine breaks down. Bigger engines decline to take on the challenge, however, despite the great challenge before him, the little engine attempts and ultimately succeeds in pulling the train over the mountain, to its destination. As self-motivation, throughout the uphill climb, the little engine repeats to itself: “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

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