“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if either of them falls down one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
In her poem The Weighing, Jane Hirshfield notes that life leaves it mark on us: “even the hardest heart will carry its whip-marks and sadness”. The poem finishes with words that may not appear to be encouraging, but upon reflection, I think that they are:
So few grains of happiness measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance.
The world asks of us only the strength we have, and we give it.
Then it asks more, and we give it.
Be encouraged by the grains of happiness and know that you can and will find the strength to give.
Yesterday I reminded Year 12 2021 that our job as a school community, as parents and teachers, is to give them or rather help them create a master key to the future – the key that unlocks multiple doors rather than just one. I noted that there are four things that we all need, along with the right attitude and approach to life, four things that determine our ability to unlock the biggest future possible. Character, effort, the ability to learn and the skills or tools of learning. These form the key with which we unlock the future…
What does the future hold? What do we know? What can we know? What will always remain uncertain? How do we prepare you for an uncertain future? We do it by focusing on what is certain. Too much effort is expended on thinking about what will change, even though the accuracy of our predictions is woeful. Instead of trying to predict the future, create it with your character, effort and learning. That’s what we are trying to help you do.
Love learning – it will go with you everywhere – mechanic, builder, business owner, tattooist, hairdresser, chef, lawyer, banker, inventor, investor, teacher, doctor. We know that character, effort, and learning will always count, irrespective of what the future holds.
Or in the words of Jack Johnson: “Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart, like why are we here? And where do we go? And how come it’s so hard? It’s not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving…I’ll tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re together”.
Life is better when we are together, school is better when we are together, and even hardship is better when we are together. Life is sometimes hard, sometimes deceiving, but better together. That’s how we should approach it, as the writer of Ecclesiastes notes, two are better than one, we help each other out, pick each other up and press on together. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. Together, the sum is then greater than the parts.