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What do you wish for?

December 19, 2017
Ballard Wishmas tree 2017

What do you wish for?

Term has just concluded for us with another magnificent and uplifting Carol Service at Christchurch Priory. Our concluding anthem, a firm favourite, was John Rutter’s ‘I wish you Christmas’. This song speaks of snow, music, friends, loved ones and blessings – a certain amount of nostalgia but also comforting, lyrical and, yes, a blessing to sing and to hear.

Now I am back at school and taking down our annual ‘Wishmas Tree’ and reading the comments written on the Christmas labels and placed on the tree’s branches. Pupils and staff are encouraged to place here wishes, prayers and comments as a means of reflecting on the present and the future. In previous years we have had our crop of requests for particular types of Christmas present, for a boyfriend or girlfriend and for a loved one just departed. This year the mood seems to have changed somewhat.

The most common theme amongst the ‘wishes’ was for peace in the world and the absence of war. This one is typical:

I wish all people were kind and that poor people have a safe place to live. And that there was no war.

Another one picked up on the concern for the poor with;

I wish for people to have love, food, drink, electricity and a home.

In our final assemblies this term we have spent time encouraging a practical response in this winter time to those in need near to home (such as through the New Forest Basics’ Bank) and also those on the continent suffering as refugees (such as ‘Clothes for Calais’ which a staff member and his wife are journeying to support). This seems to have inspired this ‘wish’ on our tree: I hope we can all develop an ‘attitude of gratitude’ this Christmas and always.


There were a couple of ‘one off’ wishes. The first was no doubt inspired by the latest BBC ‘Blue Planet’:

I wish there will be no plastic in the sea.

The other, much to my amusement (not quite knowing how to take this one in the year of my retirement):

I hope for a wonderful new Head Teacher.

(It’s probably best not to dwell on this comment as it might be a critique of the present incumbent!)

And so, as we go into the Christmas season, what do you wish for as 2018 starts to appear on the horizon? Here’s my wish from the final verse of Rutter’s song:

I wish you music, I wish you song;

I wish you harmony your whole life long

The warmth of memories that long remain

I wish you Christmas, a merry Christmas,

And may God bless you till we all meet again.

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

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Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here.

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