Last week we said goodbye to my Grandad. During the funeral service the Vicar read out a sermon that my Grandad wrote in at the time he was retiring from a being Headmaster in 1984. It was so beautifully written and poignant that I wanted to share it with my readers.
Sermon of Ian Rowarth on 29th July 1984 on the occasion of his retirement from teaching as Headmaster of Scoulton School.
Entitled ‘Ian’s Benefit’.
I consider myself to be a very fortunate man. Fortunate first to have been born British for I think that ours is, overall, the best country in the world, despite the efforts of a certain section of the community to ruin it. What is more, since the age of 10, I have lived in one of the most pleasant parts of it. Other parts have a more spectacular beauty and I like to visit them, but as a place to live Norfolk is beyond compare.
I am fortunate to have been born into a family of loving & caring parents and grandparents who helped to form my character, the good bits and the bad, and gave me an interest in a wide range of subjects. This of course makes me a jack-of-all-trades, but I think this is a desirable quality for a primary teacher. It is thanks to my mother and a little twist of fate that I am able to retire now as she got me registered as an un-certificated teacher and on the county’s books before I began my 4 years War Service in the RAF.
I have a lovely wife who has supported and encouraged me all these years, and has made me a nicer person than I might have been otherwise. I also have 2 daughters of whom I am very proud, and 2 gorgeous little granddaughters.
Since I began teaching I have never had to work with anyone unpleasant, in fact almost all of my colleagues have been very nice friendly people and those with whom I have been working recently can’t have been nicer. A lot of complimentary things have been said about me and my school in the last few days and I must share the honour with them because we have all worked together so well as a team. Of course, there are two other groups of people involved in a school – children and parents, and I have been very fortunate there too. If you are a carpenter or builder or other kind of craftsman you can look at a job when it’s finished and say “I made that” and get a feeling of satisfaction. But if you are a teacher you can never do that. It takes a lot of years before you see a former pupil making good, but it’s very satisfying to know that you have had a hand in them getting there.
Some people say things like “They don’t stay children long” and really don’t want them to grow up, but I have always been glad to see them growing and learning and changing, my own as well as other people’s.
I have spent 25 years at Scoulton school and 23 living in Watton and I really enjoy seeing old boys and girls of the school – often enough now with families of their own. This is my reward for having stayed here a long time and it is one which I shall be able to enjoy for the rest of my days.
This has been a recounting of my blessings so I hope I haven’t bored you with it. Rather, I hope it may encourage some of you to go home and in a quiet moment to count yours. Thinking positively about the good things is an important factor in being happy. Remembering niggles and upsets and rows can only lead to bitterness and misery – and who wants those? Scoring one over someone else may make you feel good for a moment, but it won’t win you any friends.
In the business world it may bring financial advantage, but do you remember Ken Dodd’s song ‘Happiness’? It says there “When it comes to measuring a man’s success, don’t count money, count happiness”. And that is very true – well, I hope it is, because I haven’t got an awful lot of money!
None of us is likely to make an impact on the world in general, in fact most of the world will never know that we ever existed, but we can try to shed a little light in our small corner of it and to leave the world a little better than we found it.
Thank you all for coming here today to support me. I really do appreciate it.