Dear KES Family:
Our School Prayer invites our students to be inspired “with the spirit of truth, honour and duty.” I love that these words are spoken every single Chapel service and that our students will hear them hundreds of times as part of their daily lives here. In our rapidly changing modern world, each one of these values is like an endangered species. In this age of information, one would think that the truth would be easier to find than at any other time in history, and yet it is often as elusive as the facts in a supermarket tabloid.
We need to cherish the truth, to open our minds to different perspectives and points of view. In some respects, at the very heart of education is a pursuit of knowledge, a quest for truth about the natural, literary, mathematical, and scientific world. A student who embraces the truth is both honest and trustworthy. A student who seeks the truth will look at history with a critical eye, will ask the tough environmental questions, and will dive deeply into the meaning of Shakespeare’s plays and Eliot’s poems.
It strikes me, too, that the spirit of truth is a path to goodness. There is something corrupt about a lie. Something dies within us when an un-truth is spoken. And yet lies are all too common. Years ago I was speaking with the parent of a student who had been caught drinking. I informed the parent that I was as disappointed with the lies he told me afterwards as I was with the drinking itself. To my amazement, this parent told me that it was her child’s obligation to lie to avoid punishment. She had no problem with the lying.
When a student is inspired with the spirit of the truth, I believe that young man or woman is also inspired with courage. Speaking and/or acting upon the truth, not giving into the easy lie, requires courage. I have great respect for those who embrace the truth, even if their voice quakes when they speak it.