Carpe Diem – Seize the Day

Over the summer, I have listened to a number of podcasts, watched films and read books on a range of topics and subjects.  While the subject matter was very varied, a number of them delivered a message about the importance of making the most of every day. 

I always remember my Mum telling me as I was growing up (she still does!) to try to approach life in a manner which encourages me to have no regrets.  This meant taking advantage of every situation, opportunity or activity that interests us or we are curious about and most importantly to be grateful. Of course, there are some activities or opportunities that are not possible due to age, financial constraints and environment, but we should strive to engage and involve ourselves in those areas or activities that are within our grasp.  You never know where they might lead.  Some opportunities will be readily available and some we will have to work hard to carve out, but we should not shy away from having a go.


What does Carpe Diem mean?

This term I will be encouraging the children to show or follow ‘Carpe Diem’.  Carpe diem, a phrase that comes from the Roman poet Horace, means literally “Pluck the day”, though it’s usually translated as “Seize the day”. There are various meanings of this phrase, from enjoy yourself while you have the chance, to living in the present and make the most of every day, rather than dwelling in the past or looking too far into the future.  For me, the phrase means make the most of every day, seize every opportunity and ultimately have no regrets.  As a community this term we will be encouraging the children to follow this philosophy in an attempt to allow them to strive for what makes them happy and successful.  

One of the purposes of a Prep School education is to help children discover a little more about who they are, what they enjoy, what makes them happy in a bid to be successful and to achieve.  This journey of discovery does not end at 13 when they leave Prep School, but hopefully has very much begun.   Our Prep 8’s last year all are starting at their new school this week and of course we wish them every success, but they continue this discovery with a solid foundation developed at Hatherop during their Prep School years.  

So, how do we begin this journey for our young people?

For me the answer is simple.  We need to encourage our pupils to try a variety of opportunities, some of which they will like, some of which they won’t, but by having a go and if required taking themselves out of their comfort zone, they will start to discover who they are.  Children are still discovering this and so should be encouraged to try everything within their grasp in a bid to find those activities and experiences which make them happy and ultimately will be successful in.  However, to really ‘Seize the day’ our pupils need to have gratitude; to be grateful and not take for granted the opportunities and experiences that are within their grasp. 

At Hatherop, our pupils are in a privileged position; not only are they able to attend school, they are able to attend a school which provides the environment, facilities and opportunities for them to learn a variety of subjects, pursue a number of interests and to learn new skills and experiences. In essence they are given the opportunity to be whoever they want to be and pursue whatever they want to do. Some children are not given this choice.

So, with this privilege comes a responsibility. The responsibility that every pupil at Hatherop should make the most of every minute of the day, whether at home or at school. We, as educators and parents also have a responsibility to encourage our pupils to realise and take advantage of the opportunities they have.