The Smile and Compliment Club

Last week saw the launch of a new theme for Fyling Hall’s half term: Nurture. In our whole school assembly I spoke to the students about how with all the negativity foisted upon us we could all do with re-dressing the balance by being more positive and by noticing what we have to be positive about.

The song the students came in to was All the Good by Jana Stanfield . . .

Hang on a minute. As soon as I start saying the phrase ‘positive thinking’ I know there are cynics and naysayers out there (how ironic) who think it’s a load of bunkum at best, or creates a state of fake-ness, a veneer over the facts or denial of the truth. So I always have to explain what exactly we mean by positive thinking. It’s about two main things. One is for the self and the other is for others. Firstly it’s about being proactive in seeking solutions to problems and to not give in or wallow in self pity. It’s about a belief in the possible.

“Positive thinking won’t let you do anything, but it will help you do everything better than negative thinking will” – Zig Ziglar

Secondly, and this is how it feeds into our term’s theme, it’s about being positive and supportive around others and for others, even if they themselves are wallowing in self pity, defeat and negative thinking. Positive thinking invites motivation, encouragement and determination.

But just thinking about it is no use. Even saying it is of little benefit. Doing it is what counts, so the plan was hatched to re-launch The Smile and Compliment Club.

The idea was simple. In the dining room are ‘compliment slips’. You fill one in with the name of the person you feel needs a lift, write a positive message, something tangible, observable, personal and true, fold it up and put it in the box. You don’t put your name on it – it’s anonymous and you’re not expecting anything in return. Then at the end of the week, the slips are sorted and delivered.

At the end of the first week the box was full. It took me a while to sort them out. There were 156 including many from and to teachers and support staff. Admittedly, some students said they’d meant to but forgot or didn’t have a chance so we’ll see what happens in week two. The box is half full already and it’s only Monday. Interestingly the most compliments came from years 11 and 12. There were a few funny ones, but all in good taste and in the spirit of the exercise. There were however, dramatically few from and to the younger years. It makes me wonder that they may need more encouragement and to be shown and guided on how to positively participate and encourage each other. Why would we assume they’d know how to do this by themselves?

The Smile and Compliment Club is not a game, it’s a method of showing and guiding how to be more nurturing as well as to feel good about yourself. A small compliment, something true, something genuine, something personal can have a massive impact on any one of us. We all know that. We’re surrounded by re-enforced messages that we are not enough or what we do is not good enough, in this way or that. We all still have plenty of growing to do. To nurture each other is support of that growing process. Just as you would water, feed and give light to a seedling, we can nurture ourselves and those around us with kind words, praise and thanks.

You are hereby invite to join us, and join the Smile and Compliment Club too.

“I cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that I can do.” – Jana Stanfield.

Ayd Instone, Head of Enrichment and Extra-Curricular