The Happiest Man Alive
In Monday’s assembly we heard about the extraordinary life of Matthieu Ricard, often referred to as the 'happiest man alive.' Here is a copy of the reading:
'Matthieu Ricard was born in France in 1946. His father was a renowned philosopher and his mother was a painter. He enjoyed a privileged early life amongst leading French intellectuals and initially chose a scientific career path, achieving a Ph.D. in molecular genetics at the prestigious Pasteur Institute. He chose a very different life shortly afterward, however, deciding to become a Buddhist and moving to the Himalayas, where he has now lived for 50 years in pursuit of a profound and sustained source of contentment.
He was labelled the ‘World’s Happiest Man’ after a University of Wisconsin neuroscience study that measured gamma waves, which are associated with happiness. The researchers found that his brain produced the highest levels ever reported.
He has written books and given many seminars on happiness, emphasising the importance of looking beyond material possessions and measuring success by external factors, and instead focusing on finding true happiness from within ourselves.
One significant ingredient of happiness, according to Matthieu Ricard, is serving others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves. He fully subscribes to the belief of Mahatma Gandhi that ‘the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’.
He also advises a balanced approach when it comes to the benefits of technology and our wellbeing, with sufficient time away from electronic devices in order to unplug, meditate, and connect with nature.
Finally, he also teaches the importance of cultivating inner values. Being kind, compassionate, and empathetic both improves our relationships with others and nurtures our inner happiness.'
Matthieu Ricard is firmly of the opinion that happiness - like most other things in life - is a skill that can be learned and developed by practising the techniques he has mastered, the chief of which is helping others. One of the best things about our House system is the range of good causes it supports which, as Monday’s reading suggests, helps those who take part as much as those to whom we offer support.
There are other books and organisations that claim to offer the means to improve our level of happiness and contentment. They include Project Bold Life, which identifies seven pillars for a successful and fulfilling life, one of which is giving back. You can read more about it here if you’d like to learn more.
Have a great weekend
We continue to encourage parents to drop off and pick up away from the main school sites, to reduce congestion, but the School is in receipt of a number of complaints from local residents, especially those in Shenfield Crescent, concerning parents blocking access and obstructing traffic flow while waiting for children at the end of the school day. Please be conscious about where you wait. In particular, parents are asked to be considerate of private residences, not to arrive too early, and to avoid obstructing traffic. Thank you to the vast majority of parents who park considerately.
Christmas Fair - 12th December 2023
Once again this year the Houses at Brentwood School are holding their traditional Christmas Fair, aiming to usher in the festive season and raise money for a local charity. Earlier last month, in order to select a charity to be supported through this event, the captain and vice captains of each House were required to pitch for their chosen local cause. South’s pitch was successful which means that all monies raised at the Fair will be donated to “Gold Geese”, an Essex-based charity which supports children with cancer. More information about the charity can be found here.
As you may be aware, we employ a cashless system for fundraising events so card machines will be available at the Fair and pupils will be required to use bank cards in order to take part in the games, raffles and fun activities offered on each house stall.
The Fair will take place in the Tuck Shop on Tuesday 12th December between 12:55 and 1:55 and is open to all students in the Senior School.
The House staff and I are greatly looking forward to this event and we thank you in advance for your support of the charitable efforts at Brentwood School.
Laetitia Dearmer-Decup and the House Team.
Chapel Services 2023-24
Throughout the year, there are regular Sunday Chapel Services which are open to all within the wider community of Brentwood School. Most of the services begin at 10am and are suitable for people of all ages.
The details of all our services for this academic year can be found in our Service Booklet which is attached. If you are planning to attend, I would appreciate a short email so that I can cater accordingly for those who come. I look forward to welcoming you to our Services.
Revd. Adrian McConnaughie
Muslim Prayer Space
Brentwood is an inclusive school with a Christian Foundation where students and staff of all faiths and none are nurtured. As part of our commitment to this aim, we have recently established a Muslim prayer space throughout the week for our students to pray and a space each Friday for prayers which are led by one of our members of staff. This has proved to be beneficial for a number of our students to date.
If you would like your son or daughter to have access to this space for prayer at lunchtime then please contact me directly by email and I will pass their details to the staff members who will oversee the day-to-day supervision of these spaces. If you have any queries about this prayer space then do not hesitate to be in touch.
With every blessing and good wish
Revd. Adrian McConnaughie
Match Day Programme
Click here to view this Saturday's Match Day Programme.
Learning Community Parent Events
Elevate Education: How To Help Your Child Alleviate Stress
Elevate Education is holding a series of webinars to help students become more effective learners and Brentwood School parents have exclusive access.
Find out more about time management, effective preparation and gain practical strategies to help your child get - and stay - motivated while studying.
Event: How To Help Your Child Alleviate Stress – 12/12, 6pm-7pm
Ultimate Activity Camps
In 2024, Ultimate Activity Camps will again be hosting their exciting Ultimate Survival Camps at Brentwood School during the Easter and Summer holidays. Don't miss their Ultimate Christmas Offer for significant savings, available until 3rd January. After that, please check their website for early booking discounts and special offers.
- Easter – Tuesday 2nd to Friday 12th April 2024
- Summer – Monday 15th July to Friday 23rd August 2024
- Summer - Monday 29th July - Friday 16th August
Ultimate Christmas Offer
Save £50/week off their standard weekly rate and £8/day off their standard daily rate.
This exclusive offer is available online. Simply visit www.ultimateactivity.co.uk to book your preferred dates, whether it's for a single day or an entire week. Plus, should you need to change your dates, you can do so free of charge up to 14 days before your camp's start date, subject to availability. For added convenience, they accept all childcare vouchers.
Don't forget to follow them on social media to stay up to date with their news and offers throughout the year.