Life Lessons from a Boarding School Dining Hall

Project 2012: Day 35

I had the ignominious pleasure of heading to my first boarding school at the tender age of seven. Pretty much the first chapter of Bryce Courteney’s “The Power of One,” was my personal experience. But as with all crappy experiences, they have a habit of teaching powerful lessons.

One of those I learned in the dining hall. When one is cooking for 1,000 people, it’s impossible to cater for tastes, especially when one has a budget to meet. This results in food that you, as pupil, just don’t like. But back in the 70’s, in rural South Africa, discipline was administered via corporal punishment. So you ate everything on your plate.

Furthermore, the rule at the table was” “Last one finished clears the plates.” Why we never put in a roster I’ll never know, but I do know that you ate! Everything, and very quickly. Any food left would brook a hiding, and dilly dallying meant clearing a table for 10.

So how does this relate to personal success. Simple. The lesson I learned to minimise any punishment, was to eat my worst foods first. Spinach, cabbage (over-boiled with lumpy mash), and brussel sprouts, all were the 1st things I ate. Ignore the taste, and know that your reward is the tastiest things on the plate: Roast chicken, potatoes, and peas.

It’s the same with your daily tasks. Do the ones you hate first, the admin, expenses, or resolving conflict. Then all you have to look forward to are the things you enjoy.

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