Pause 4 Thought

24 October 2019

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Meade

This quote comes from the 20th century anthropologist Margaret Meade. A scientist of her time, she was an outspoken, free-thinking advocate for women’s rights. I hope that our students are coming to realise that they have the potential to have an impact in the way that Meade describes – indeed, it is a responsibility that we all have. Whilst there is, inevitably, controversy around the activities of Greta Thunberg, it is indisputable that she is making an impact. From the many conversations I have had with pupils here, and the projects I see around school tackling sustainability challenges, it is evident that the issues she has raised have struck a chord with our students. I am further impressed that they are able to separate their opinions about Greta and her methods, from the concerns she is flagging.

In assembly this week we considered examples of individuals who sacrifice their own needs for the good of the team. Apart from being advertising gold, meerkats are social creatures who live together in large underground networks, only coming out during the day. When foraging for food, one member will act as a sentry by standing on his hindquarters and sounding the alarm if he spots a predator. In doing so, he keeps his group safe from harm. The sentinel is exposed; they put themselves in danger for the good of the group.

Examples of self-sacrifice are often to be found in times of hardship, when the stakes are high. Thus I shared with the students the story of WWII Pilot Bill Millington who stayed with his plane rather than bailing out, despite being severely injured and in a blazing cockpit. Instead he guided his plane to land in a field – thereby avoiding the town on which it would have crashed causing significant loss of life. The story of Captain Oates on Scott’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition was another demonstration – this time the ultimate sacrifice being made by Oates in an attempt to save his team members.

I wish you and your families a relaxing and rejuvenating half-term break.

Have a good weekend.

Mrs D-C