On the morning of September 11, 2017, Forman School headmaster Adam K. Man opened his 10th year at the School with warm welcoming remarks to the student body for the first School assembly in Jake Cloobeck '16 Theater. Mr. Man organized his remarks around two quotations and an aphorism, with all three being tied into important themes for students to ponder all year.
"We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once." Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher.
Mr. Man shared stories about his relationship to dance and dancing and pointed out that you don't have to be good at it to enjoy dancing. He reminded students that the quote is telling us to make sure that each day includes some exuberant physicality, some letting-loose and some pure enjoyment. Joy fits nicely alongside work.
"The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves." Amelia Earhart, American aviator
When he worked in the theater, Mr. Man encountered difficult people and learned how to deal with them and not let them bother him. He told a story of an actress who was coming to town for a show and he braced himself in anticipation of yet another hard-to-please diva. To his pleasant surprise, this woman was sweet, kind, thoughtful, and considerate. Mr. Man also saw Earhart's idea in action; the actress' consistently nice behavior inspired the same in others, even people who previously were rather selfish and mean. The message for students is clear. Kindness is contagious. Spread it around.
The Earhart quote also gave Mr. Man a chance to emphasize three personal qualities that are being stressed and encouraged this year at Forman: trust, kindness, and respect.
"A picture is worth a thousand words."
With help from some students, Mr. Man noted how this relatively common expression is worth revisiting now and then; the idea that seeing something can sometimes be more powerful than a written description, a wonderful thought to be considered in the brand new Visual and Performing Arts Center.
Man made the connection for this timeless idea to social media and how getting an Instagram post from your friend in Rome is a bit more powerful than a text that says: Yo! I'm in Rome. Try to think visually. It's powerful.
Mr. Man closed his remarks by reminding students that while he has two biological children, this year he has 221 kids. And he reminded those "kids" that his phone number and email address are published in the school handbook. And that the doors of his home and his office have one thing in common.
They are both open.