Written by: Mr. Lu
My advisory was getting feisty.
September’s optimistic hopes and promises energize us, but as the new and novel slowly wear away, old irritations and frustrations rear and embed themselves in our rhythms and routines. It takes careful attention and awareness to turn away unhelpful habits and cynicism and push for a better place. All that clouded my mind, as I stood among four bright blue fancy chairs and cheerful slots of sunshine with students who were never satisfied with being told what to do, unless the why resonated with them. Here we go again, ABBA sang. Here we were in advisory, still the same and a little different, and we were getting feisty. How can I resist you?
This time, it was about the Terry Fox Run. All agreed learning about Mr. Fox was important, most agreed donating money to cancer research was worthy, but few agreed the run itself was necessary. The arguments were persuasive, intriguing, and thoughtful. I think at its core was the meaning of service. Amid the furor involving the prime minister and his past history with us, the media casually laid descriptive words of our school like insults – posh, elite, affluent – or put forth a sly reference to tuition. Talking with Josh and Rhys, we laughed at those articles, how wrong the words felt, but almost a little too defensively. Who are we really?
Is service a penance? Is it an atonement to wash away the guilt of privilege and good fortune and opportunity? The service council magnificently offers opportunities to connect with people outside our comfort zone, to do good, to be involved with something greater than ourselves. The challenge is to render this service to our hearts, to bypass the cynical and the resume-building, to make words genuine, to make actions whole. The answers aren’t easily found, although Ms. Poole and many others can give you suggestions.
When Davis spoke to me about the Terry Fox Run, he mentioned how it was a simple and relaxed workout for him. For others, like myself, it was the opposite. This is difficult. This makes me feel uncomfortable. This causes me pain. This makes me sad and mad because I gave up at 5K instead of doing 7K. Therein lies, perhaps, part of the answer. There should be something about service that challenges us physically, mentally and emotionally, something that jars us from the ordinary, something that makes us want to talk about it, something that makes us want to do better, to do more.
The beauty is heart change and soul change may come in slight, unexpected ways, not in the grandiose, not in carefully built plans. It’s worth plunging in without too much thought, and trying different service, no matter how small. Who knows, it might become a bit of who you are, and reveal a bit of who you could be. And it might even make you feistier than usual.