We live in challenging times – a viral pandemic; failing economies; a deteriorating climate; a deepening divide between the poor and the rich, and a growing disconnect among the villagers – all overseen by directionless and self-serving leaders all around the world.
Seems pretty bleak, and it is a bit. But all is not lost. We must not get drawn into the downward spiral of doom and gloom and look for the opportunities where we can make a positive difference. Be prepared, be resilient and think with your wits.
It is critical that we project a positive outlook to our children and be solutions-focused if the next generation is going to look at the glass half-full and reclaim control of the farm!
I am reminded of three of Aesop’s Fables that can guide and inspire us to keep our lives on track despite what is happening around us. Aesop’s Fables are wrongly touted as children’s stories when , in fact, they are overflowing with wisdom that many adults should embrace. You will recall that each fable concludes with . . . “and the moral of the story is”.
The first fable is about The Ant and the Grasshopper.
It was summer, hot and sunny, and, instead of working and preparing for winter, a Grasshopper preferred to dance, sing and play his violin at his leisure, not minding that these wonderful days will soon be over, that cold and rainy days will soon be near. On seeing a hardworking Ant passing by him, preparing for the hard winter that was to come one day, he invited him to join him and share his fun.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have time for this”, the Ant answered, “I must work hard, so that winter won’t find me without shelter and food.”
“Stop worrying so much, there is still plenty of time to prepare for winter. Let’s sing and dance together, let’s laugh and enjoy life”.
But Ant was very wise and wouldn’t pay attention to the Grasshopper’s words and continued to work hard and store food for the long winter that was to come.
The winter came sooner than expected, and the Grasshopper found himself without home and without food. He went to the Ant’s house and begged him for food and shelter.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t help you”, the Ant said. “I only have room and food for me and my family, so go find help somewhere else.”
“I should have followed Ant’s example in the summer”, the Grasshopper thought sadly. “I would have been so happy now…”
And the moral of the story is . . . ”prepare for the hard days to come”.
The recent panic buying of toilet paper and other grocery items is an example of not being adequately prepared. We should always aim to stock our larder with a sufficient supply of essential items to hold us over in the event of disruption or disaster. We should not be too critical of the flurry to buy toilet paper but we can be critical of greed.
The second fable tells the story of The Oak and the Reed and explains why some people are more resilient that others.
“Well, little one,” said a Tree to a Reed that was growing at its foot, “why do you not plant your feet deeply in the ground, and raise your head boldly in the air as I do?”
“I am contented with my lot,” said the Reed. “I may not be so grand, but I think I am safer.”
“Safe!” sneered the Tree. “Who shall pluck me up by the roots or bow my head to the ground?” But it soon had to repent of its boasting, for a hurricane arose which tore it up from its roots, and cast it a useless log on the ground, while the little Reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.
And the moral of the story is . . . “Better to yield when it is folly to resist, than to resist stubbornly and be destroyed”.
In these challenging times, while we may feel that we have no control over life’s events, we can be strong and flexible and avoid the anguish that comes from having an unyielding attitude. Like the reed, we should bend and adapt to the changing conditions and reframe how we see the world and look with hope to a better future.
Finally, the third fable describes the tale of The Crow and the Pitcher.
In a spell of dry weather, when the Birds could find very little to drink, a thirsty Crow found a pitcher with a little water in it. But the pitcher was high and had a narrow neck, and no matter how he tried, the Crow could not reach the water. The poor thing felt as if he must die of thirst.
Then an idea came to him. Picking up some small pebbles, he dropped them into the pitcher one by one. With each pebble the water rose a little higher until, at last, it was near enough so he could drink
And the moral of the story is . . . “In a pinch a good use of our wits may help us out”.
In hard times we must not wait for someone else to come up with the solution, we must think for ourselves and find the best way forward. Too often we complain that the government is not doing enough, the Council should do more – someone, somebody, anybody should do something. We should be more like the crow and find our own solutions.
Managing the Spread of COVID-19 and the possible closure of the school
While the College has been working with Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) who, in turn, is working with other education sectors and government agencies, the College has also been preparing our own strategies to manage any disruption that may result from COVID-19.
On Friday 13 March 2020, parents would have received a SEQTA Direqt Message outlining the College’s plan to ensure the continuity of learning for students in the event of a school closure. The plan relies on a three-way partnership between students, parents and staff. Like the Ant, parents should prepare now on how they will supervise their children if they have to stay home for an extended period, especially if parents are working. Like the reed, parents need to be flexible and adapt to the changing conditions and, like the crow, parents need to be clever and innovative in their solutions to ensure the continuity of learning for their children.
As we know, it takes a village to raise a child. So, during these challenging times we might need to call on the village to help. Together we can make a difference.