Our Founders’ Day preacher this year, former pupil Stephen Burrow, spoke about times when he had gone beyond his comfort zone. He encouraged us to “step out of the boat”:
“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water ... (Matthew 14)
It is an account that plays with the limits of possibility.
When football manager Chris Coleman took Wales to victory over Belgium and the semi-final of Euro 2016, emotions ran high. In a remarkable pitch-side interview, he told the BBC:
“Four years ago I was as far away from this as you can imagine and look what has happened. If you work hard enough, and you are not afraid to dream, and you are not afraid to fail – everybody fails, I’ve had more failures than I have had success, but I am not afraid to fail.”
And last summer, in the most-watched TV show of 2015, Nadiya Hussain won the Great British Bake-Off with perfect iced buns, raspberry mille-feuille and a wedding cake showstopper. Her spontaneous, tearful speech wasn’t about failure to success, it was about about ordinary to extraordinary:
"I'm never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I'm never gonna say I can't do it. I'm never gonna say 'maybe'. I'm never gonna say, 'I don't think I can.' I can and I will."
The end of a school year is a time for celebration – and it can also be a moment of clarity to reflect on failures and future goals.
Step out of the boat. Not afraid to fail. I’m never gonna say I can’t!