Remember that very tricky gameshow Fifteen to One that used to run on Channel 4? We had a different 15 to 1 this week.
This week in the chaplaincy team's assemblies at Harlaw Academy we have used our fabulously useful Giant Jenga set (indeed, I had to go and retrieve it from a certain primary school in Cove on Wednesday morning). As an introduction to the assembly we asked a pupil to come forward and build the tallest most stable tower they can on the table in one minute. Thereafter we tested it with the "shoogle" test and promptly brought down, in a matter of a second or two, their carefully constructed towers.
It is so easy to knock someone else's efforts, to bring someone down a peg or two. In Scotland we make a bit of a sport of it, elevating people just so you can knock them back down again. What about that 15 to 1? We read that the destructive power of one negative comment on an average person's sense of self-esteem and self-worth takes fifteen positive comments to rebuild. That is food for thought.
In our assembly we went on to think about the kind of school community we seek to build where taking risks in trying new things is encouraged, supported and celebrated, whether those efforts lead to failure or success.
A word to remember on this theme which stands the test of time:
"Worry weighs a person down;
an encouraging word cheers a person up."