At the installation of 12 new Choristers on Sunday (of which more later), the Dean addressed the Choir and told them a story about stubbing his little toe. It was intriguing, so on Sunday evening, thinking about my Morning Worship Assembly to the Prep School the next morning, I did a little bit of research into the little toe (I don’t get out much). Dotting around various medical websites revealed a fair amount about the littlest of the toes, and I shared my findings with the School on Monday of this week.
Despite being the smallest appendage, the little toe plays a very big role. Without it, I read, we cannot balance, cannot walk easily, cannot crouch, have difficulty jumping – and we simply fall over a lot. For such a seemingly insignificant little joint at the very end of our extremities, it has a remarkable influence and effect. I asked the pupils what they thought the most important body part might be: heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, skin, bones, gills were offered as very sensible suggestions, but, slightly tongue-in-cheek, I proffered the answer of the little toe. Who would have thought, I said, that something so small, so tucked away, so weak, so funny looking, so unassuming and uninspiring would play such an important part in the workings of the whole? And yet without it we really struggle: we literally topple over.
We all have our little toe moments; when we feel less important, less glamorous, less cool, less influential, less visible than many of those around us. But we must remember that we too, just as the little toe, are a crucial part of the whole being. Each one of us makes up our School community; each one of us effects that community directly – through our approach, our actions, our words, and our treatment of others. Like the tiniest drop in the water, our ripples spread far, and the influence that each and every one of us has on the morale, behaviour, success and happiness of the whole community is not to be underestimated. Take out the third trumpet from the orchestra and suddenly the harmonies aren’t there; remove the substitute from the squad and suddenly there are no fresh legs for when the team needs them; interrupt a lesson with an incident of misjudged behaviour and suddenly everyone’s learning is compromised. We all have a significant bearing on the functioning and wellbeing of the larger community of which we are part, and I asked the pupils to think about their ‘little toe moments’ throughout the course of the week: in what small ways do they have a positive effect on those around them and on the ECS community?
The ECS community has been in celebratory mood this week, and I offer my congratulations to the 12 pupils who made the step up from Probationers to full Choristers on Sunday. Archie, Daniel, Dominic, James, Maria, Poppy, Josie, Ginevra, Ellie May, Jonny, Joshua and Theo were all presented with their surplices at a very special Evensong, and we all wish them a happy and fulfilling career as fully-fledged Cathedral Choristers.
Later in the week it was the turn of the Senior Choristers to shine, as they were broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 across the world on Wednesday. Choral Evensong is the longest-running outside broadcast in the history of radio: how special for our Year 7 and 8 Choristers to be a part of that history, and to have what they do day-in day-out heard by some 200,000 people around the globe. They sang superbly, and you can tune in at your leisure via BBC iPlayer to hear the whole service.
Headmaster’s Coffee begins again next week – a chance for parents/guardians of particular forms to drop into my study on a Thursday morning from 8am for a cup of coffee and a croissant whilst discussing the issues of the day. Do look out for your invitation which will make its way home via book bags and via the portal. An RSVP is always helpful, and I always look forward to catching up with those parents and friends who are able to make it.
I wish you all a very happy weekend.