Ger­man or Bri­tish? Fred shares his view on the power of for­give­ness

EDP Norfolk - - Education -

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.

Happy shop­ping!

Fred de Falbe, head­mas­ter at Bee­ston Hall School, West Run­ton bee­ston­ 01263 837324

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