From the Principal’s Desk – 18 May 2017

What I Believe to be True – Part II

What do I believe to be true? I believe that dignity and respect are foundational for life and this is one of the primary reasons I am drawn to international education. We embrace dignity and respect towards self and others as a key part of the teaching, learning and living that happens each day in our schools around the world.

Last week Friday, we celebrated Mother’s Day at school and Mrs Walsh and the teachers in Year 1 – 3 together with the students spoilt the Moms with a special concert and tea. It was a happy occasion full of relationship, love and time spent together as a community and it was the love between the mothers and their children that was most obvious on the morning. Children looking at their mom with shining eyes and toothy grins and mothers looking at their children with complete and utter love. The relationship and connection between mother and child was so heart-warming.

The truth is that we are all children. Each one of us has a mother and father. They may not still be with us, but we belong to two people that we call mom and dad. Sir Ken Robinson, an esteemed expert on creativity and education speaks to the chance of us being here. It’s miniscule! It’s less than microscopic! If we take time to think about how we got here, it’s nothing short of a miracle. Imagine that somewhere in the mists of time, in the darkness of centuries past, lost in the history of many generations ago, a boy and a girl were born. Maybe they came from the same hamlet, village or town. Maybe they came from different places, countries or even continents. Imagine they were conceived by two mothers who produces many thousands of cells and two fathers who produces hundreds of billions in their lives remembering that they can only rely on one from each person to make a new human. Imagine that this boy and girl, were destined to meet, fall in love and have a boy or girl of their own. This senario has to be repeated with another four adults somewhere else for us just to have a mom or dad. What are the chances!

Quite right that we should have a special day to celebrate their lives each year! We know that each combination of cells produces a unique human, with unique fingerprints and looks. A set of siblings can be a different in looks and personality even though they come from the same parents. So, from all the reproductive cells they produced in their lifetime, one specific female and one specific male cell from two sets of parents resulted in a unique boy and girl. These two children grew up, met, had a child who grew up and met another child from another two other adults and because they met, another unique child was produced. And so, it went on …  the growth and development of your family. Because there is only one set of reproductive cells that will meet at one time, there is only one chance that you can be here. One second later, a different male cell and you wouldn’t be here and there’s no possibility that you could ever be. There can only be one of you! Nature breaks and throws away the mould when you are conceived. You are your own one-time brand.

When you begin to think about it, it’s mind-boggling that looking back into the past and thinking about our origins – parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and further back – we begin to appreciate that our existence relies on so much history, so many circumstances, possibilities and chances. Think of the person, forced into slavery who just endures the inhumane Atlantic crossing, a chance meeting on a train where two people fall in love, a child who survives a near fatal incident, the impact that war and times of peace, migration and moments in history where the world spins completely out of control all have on people meeting, falling in love and having a child. All this adds to the limitless permutations that weave a story of us through history. You have a much better chance of winning a lottery jackpot many times over than being conceived! It’s the toughest lottery of all to win and we hit the jackpot! Think of all the people that influenced and help shape the people in our family trees. Truly, we exist because of the lives, sacrifice and effort of thousands of people before us. And of all the characteristics that cement the woven threads of our lives, its relationship, connection, service and love that play the major parts. It’s connection relationship, service and love that drew the people together who ensured we exist today and this history of us is many thousands of years old.  The very foundations of our lives are summed up in these words.

So, here’s another thing I know to be true. It’s no accident that we are here because we actually shouldn’t be! If we as parents and educators hold this story of the almost impossible possibility of our existence as incredible; this amazing story of life, survival and love as remarkable, the way we value it should be reflected accurately and authentically in the way we behave and treat each other. cambriOur children are watching us. To influence the future, the way we model to our children is particularly important. Children look to us for guidance and our modelling of words and actions are what they internalise and take to be acceptable, good and true.

If we believe that it’s not by chance that we are here today, then we must also believe that striving towards dignity and respect to self and others is a life work; that these two words that play a powerful role in our words and actions are critical to acknowledge each other as inimitable, distinctive and irreplaceable individuals. To disregard our own dignity and the dignity of others and to not respect ourselves and treat others with the same respect, is to not acknowledge the miracle of life that is you, the history that created you and every person around you.

One last thought – the story has not ended. We are the latest chapter in preparing our child or children to continue this story and our contribution and demonstration of connection, love, relationship, dignity and respect matters; it matters very much indeed. The future relies on it.

Yours in education
Mr G. C. Kitching
Head of School