Pause 4 Thought

10 January 2020

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.’ – Albert Einstein

Welcome back, and a very Happy New Year to you all! I hope you are enjoying using the new entrance to the Junior School.

For our first assembly of 2020, we looked at new year celebrations and customs around the world. Whilst many countries mark the event with firework displays, there are many varied traditions performed in different parts of the world. In Colombia it is a popular tradition to burn “Old Year” dolls (made of cardboard, sawdust and cloth and which represent the bad things of the year that goes) on the last night of the year. In Scheveningen in the Netherlands, swimmers launch themselves into the North Sea on January 1.

Scotland, which takes its Hogmanay very seriously, traditionally requires the house to be cleaned and debts to be paid before midnight on New Year’s Eve – the underlying message being to clear out the remains of the old year, have a clean break and welcome in a young, New Year on a happy note. “First footing” (or the “first foot” in the house after midnight) is still common across Scotland. To ensure good luck for the house the first visitor should be dark-haired, and should bring with them symbolic pieces of coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and a wee dram of whisky. The dark-haired bit is believed to be a throwback to the Viking days, when a big blonde stranger arriving on your doorstep with a big axe meant big trouble, and probably not a very happy New Year!

I then shared some notable things about 2020:

  • We enter a new decade
  • Leap year
  • February 2nd, 2020 special because it’s a palindromic number 02/02/2020
  • The Summer Olympics will be held in Japan.
  • US Presidential election
  • Planned launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission to study the habitability of Mars and prepare for future human missions.
  • Globally, it’s predicted that more people will own a phone than have electricity.

Finally, we considered New Year’s resolutions and how to make them most effective – tip 1) make them positive. So ‘I will smile when I get home in the evening’ is easier than ‘ I won’t be grumpy’. Tip 2) Think beyond yourself – what can you do to make the lives of others better – your family, your friends, your school or workplace, your town, our world. Tip 3) don’t give up if you forget/aren’t perfect. Try again – use the slip-up as learning. The responsibility is ours.

I will leave you with a cinquain poem written by Sissie and Anisha (UII) on their first day back this year:


Balanced, thoughtful

Laughing, playing, working

Rapidly we flourish, thrive


Have a good weekend.

Mrs D-C