Heads Up

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Message from Scott Cowie, head, Senior Division

Scott CowieUpcoming dates for the Senior Division:

Monday, Nov. 3: Principal’s assembly; Laidlaw Hall; 8:30 a.m.; Bill Glied (Holocaust survivor);
Friday, Nov. 7 – Monday, Nov. 10: no classes; November long weekend

Dr. Power has often talked to the boys about hitting the pause button – stopping and thinking about the potential impact of decisions or behaviours prior to engaging in them.

During Monday’s assembly, Mr. Bauld, from our English department also spoke about hitting the pause button, but he took a different perspective. He recounted a time earlier in the year during one of school barbecues, when he paused and took a moment to reflect on the large tree situated right outside of the Grant House door, on the slope on the north end of the Oval Field. He remarked that he had looked at this particular tree countless times before, but in taking the time to truly see, it, he recounted the pleasant, peaceful feeling that came over him in this simple moment. He shared the impact the experience had on him and challenged the boys to follow his lead:

“I thought of two things that lunch hour. First, I realized that even after spending about 15 years here, there are so many things – and by that I mean objects – that I have not really seen. And, second, I was reminded that seeing is much different than looking and requires a balance of reflection and attention.”

Mr. Bauld’s assembly address reminded me of an award winning news story called “Pearls Before Breakfast” (Washington Post, 2007). The article described a social experiment in which world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell was asked to play the violin during the morning rush hour in a busy subway station in the D.C. metro to see if people would take the time to stop and listen to his amazing talent on their way to work.

To up the ante of this intriguing study, Bell decided he would play some of the most challenging violin pieces from the great composers of history. If that wasn’t enough, he also decided to play his 18th-century Stradivarius, valued at approximately $3.5 million dollars.

It was only a few days prior to this sting that the virtuoso played to a sold-out house, where the cheap seats started at 100 bucks, but the total purse collected at the end of the 43-minute free concert for the harried D.C. subway patrons was a meagre $32.17! Indeed, of the thousands who passed by that day, only one person recognized him and the music, and only a handful of people even bothered to stop for a brief listen.

Here is a link to the article online, which also contains some video footage of the master at work.

In considering what those bustling subway patrons overlooked, and hearing from Mr. Bauld on Monday, I do wonder what we might be missing amidst the hectic pace of our busy lives. As parents, we need to model how to slow down and take time to appreciate the seemingly mundane in life. In so doing, we will ultimately lead healthier, more balanced lives. And, chances are, we may stumble upon something truly remarkable along the way.

Thanks for reading,
Scott