VALUES FROM THE MARKET PLACE
German or British? Fred shares his view on the power of forgiveness
THE familiar sounds of Christmas are already on their way. First question: have you visited one of the remarkable German Christmas markets which spring up for a few December days in so many UK cities? Very cheery and very different to the standard British festive high street – new, yet traditional.
Second question: are you familiar with the acronym FBV? In the blizzard of abbreviations the modern J-I-T world embraces, we have this little nugget which has appeared as a result of one of the decrees from government – that schools should promote Fundamental British Values.
Embracing these values is desirable as well as statutory, but it does leave one looking a little narrow-minded, if not careful. Let me explain.
In time-honoured, ‘teacherish’ tradition I mentioned to the children my summer holiday in Berlin, a vibrant world city with an amazing panoply of architecture – almost all of it post-1870.
Centremost is, of course, Norman Foster’s epic redesign of the Reichstag, with its revolving, reflecting, transparent dome, superimposed on the ruins of the Bismarck colossus.
It is a fabulous evocation and symbol of what we should all be striving for but clearly embodies – quite self-consciously, fundamental German values, as they are in the 21st century.
Who of our readership is old enough to remember uncles, or similar, who refused to contemplate buying German or Japanese goods?
Thankfully autobiographies and tales such as The Railway
Man by Eric Lomax have put to bed such unpleasant hangovers from the Second World War and shown the power of forgiveness.
At hearing a head teacher recommend German Christmas markets – never mind FGVs (Fundamental German Values) - they might have, for a moment, turned in their graves until they saw what fabulous values they are and the importance of recognising where we have come from, as well as where we are going, Christmas markets or not.
Fred de Falbe, headmaster at Beeston Hall School, West Runton beestonhall.co.uk 01263 837324