The New Year, much like Christmas, can offer a mix of emotions. Excitement for all that is planned or all that could happen. A hope of a new start, the beginning of new hopes and plans. It can also mark the end of a year that you may want to say good riddance to. I don’t know what 2018 was like for you but I think mine felt a little bit like a roller coaster.

Do you describe yourself as a glass half-empty or a glass half-full sort of a person?

It would be easy to look upon last year as one I wanted to kick in to touch as quickly as possible there were challenging times with Mum being unwell and a few too many funerals for my liking but also there were times of great joy 5 weddings last year meant for an expensive but enjoyable time. Celebrating my graduation in October with my now well mum. And surviving alongside my colleagues what seemed to be the longest busiest and most challenging autumn term in the history of education.

So how should we approach 2019

I would like to suggest with strength found in praise

Psalm 81

“sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre.”

We have much to celebrate and truly be grateful for. We are part of a brilliant school with wonderfully talented and committed staff, pupils and parents. We have seen our students achieve outstanding things academically, in sport and pastorally I have watched so many of our pupils arrive broken and tired from life’s challenges and leave whole or at least with the tools to start becoming that way. We, as the Kingsley family, have the privilege of working with impressionable young minds and whatever our role in the school we are here to make a difference in their lives. Learning is a two-way process and I am grateful for the things that our pupils have taught me over the years, and I’m not just talking about how to dab, floss or perform the cup song.

Witnessing the house dances, the nativity and the choirs at the end of last term demonstrated how our pupils love to work collaboratively each part coming together in a performance never to be forgotten. Here their sense of team work, joy and fun was clear to see and enjoyed by everybody.

As Kingsley family I want to work with pupils, colleagues and parents who lift us up when we are feeling down. Encourage us when life is tough, celebrate in the good times and to look for that opportunity to share a connection whether in the classroom, the sports field or the car park.

On New Year’s Day whilst having breakfast I was listening to a thought for the day on the radio and it started with them reading the Methodist covenant prayer:

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.

The words of this prayer challenge me. Can I be so trusting as to truly say ‘so be it’ to the circumstances of my life?

We all know that with a new year there will be great challenges, but there will also be times of joy.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, exercise yourselves in these things.

Can I encourage you to let joy be the focus for 2019.How? The Bible encourages us look to the positive, work as a team whatever your role in the Kingsley family, staff member, pupil or parent dwell on the positive and speak always with praise.