We Are Our Choices: Sculptures in Time

We Are Our Choices: Sculptures in Time

May 18, 2018

As the Class of 2018 leaves our school today for the final time – now as graduates – I have been reflecting on the nature of the choices we prepare our children to make in the years that lie ahead of them.

It is a truism that we have little choice over the day of our birth. We participate, no doubt, but our entry into this world is not the product of a conscious choice on our part. Our childhood is filled with choices made for us by others: the colour and style of the clothes we wear, the types and tastes of the food we eat. Our childhood homes, the schools we attend, even our friendship groups, are selected for us, or shaped profoundly by decisions made by others, mostly our parents. In school, as the choices for pathways beyond graduation begin to exert a greater influence on our thinking, we take advice on subject choices based on the judgements of others: teachers, counsellors, parents, and examiners.

It is only as our individuality begins to emerge and become more assertive towards the end of our school years that we begin to exercise more adult-like autonomy. We begin to make choices that shape our adult selves in more visible ways. We develop our own taste in food, music, clothing, entertainment, and much more besides. Increasingly, we form independent views of the world around us. Ironically, some of these choices are the reactive product of opposition to the views of authority figures.

In many ways, we are like life sculptures, emerging over time, slowly, painfully, joyfully, lovingly from a piece of pure stone. We are compelled to live, as the sculptor is compelled to sculpt. Each choice, each decision is like a small chip or sliver of stone that, once removed, reveals a little more of the ‘real’ person that lies beneath the surface. In sculpture, a small piece of stone, once removed, cannot be replaced. In life, a choice, once made, cannot be unmade – we cannot turn back the clock. Our quirks and foibles, like minor blemishes in stone, are enduring marks of our individuality. To the objective, critical eye, our shape may not be perfect. We are, however, perfect, unique reflections of our choices and decisions.

To the Class of 2018: choose carefully, choose wisely, but choose you must.

      3c03ae50af1f621ef902d59f62b6be7cThought by Auguste Rodin, Musée d’Orsay

Dr. Malcolm Pritchard

Head of School

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