Miss Hopkins' Thought for the TermPosted on: 01/10/2020
Every Day is a New Beginning.
The start of the new school year is a time that most of us associate with fresh starts. We are energised by the sense of opportunity and possibility that accompanies walking through those school gates in the first week of September. It’s exciting. We all have our favourite ‘fresh start’ rituals at the start of the school year; I love watching students write their names on the front of their exercise books in my lessons. I think about how much more they will know and understand by the time all those clean, white pages are filled.
The start of a new school year is also often a time that we make promises to ourselves to make the fresh start that it brings more meaningful. We may decide that we are going to be better organised and complete all homework on the day it is set or to be braver and put our hand up to answer a question in every lesson. We may decide to be relentless in our pursuit of excellence in a particular subject or to be kinder and put care about others at the centre of everything we do. And we enjoy the sense of achievement that comes from meeting these goals, getting into good habits and becoming a better version of ourselves.
However, if we are completely honest, when the excitement and novelty of September fades and we are faced with the onset of cold, dark days in November and December, it can be easy to forget the sense of empowerment we get from a fresh start and the joy we experience from making the most of it. The great new habits we have built can drift and disappear and we tell ourselves that we will start again at the start of next week, or at the start of next term or even at the start of the new year. We put off doing the thing that we know will make a difference to us and the kind of person we are. For some reason we connect fresh starts to the beginnings of weeks, months, terms or years and we don’t have to.
Buddhists have a wonderful way of thinking about fresh starts. Firstly, they believe that ‘every day is a new beginning’, which is a wonderful, hopeful perspective to have. If we think like this, then each day can offer you the opportunity for a fresh start and to reconnect with those promises you made to yourself about what you would change, do more of or do better. If you didn’t do those things on a Monday, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t treat Tuesday as a new beginning and keep those promises to yourself. Secondly, Buddhists have a wonderful concept which is ‘from this moment on.’ They believe that if you want to make a change or do something differently then you should start immediately, there is no point in putting it off or waiting for the right moment. You should simply make that change ‘from this moment on’.
Fresh starts are important. It is probably even more important to know that we can create a fresh start for ourselves at any time that we choose. We don’t need to wait for a particular point in time when we understand that ‘every day is a new beginning’ and that we have the power to make a change ‘from this moment on’.