There are lines from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” that I have always loved:
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,”
Effort – maximum effort right to the finish – is something that fills my heart with admiration and my eyes with tears. There is just something thrilling about seeing anyone dig deep, to ignore pain and discomfort, and to put ab-so-lute-ly everything they have into their activity. When that ‘anyone’ is a child there is such a glimpse of vast potential that one’s soul sings about the possibilities.
We are so fortunate at King’s-Edgehill School to have students who not only understand how to put their heart and soul into their pursuits, but who relish the idea of giving one hundred percent effort when doing so. This is as true for Eric Fang playing his Chinese violin, the erhu, as it is for Megan Wordworth and Tiffany Hill in soccer. Watching the cross-country runners this week reminded me of how much pain there is in a distance run (far more than sixty seconds’ worth!). To keep going when every cell in your body is screaming out to stop, is a true measure of fortitude and grit. I salute every runner on the team.
This young generation is often much maligned and, I fear, much misunderstood. Because much of our children’s experience growing up is different from our own childhoods, it is difficult to appreciate what they will bring to our communities after we are gone. It is easy to think that the future is bleak because they may not know their times-tables, may not tell time on an analogue watch, and do not “go out and play” like we used to. I certainly share concerns about this young generation’s ability to communicate in person, or to appreciate the sacrifices that have been made to provide them with everything they have and enjoy here in Canada or, perhaps, in their home overseas. But, a week never goes by at the School when I shake my head in disillusionment. These children are working hard in class and out. They are filling the unforgiving minute with sixty second’s worth of distance run. They also know how to laugh and have fun together.
Life is not perfect, but I finish this week as I always do – excited about the possibilities.
This week in pictures.