Vitalstatistix, the chief of the last Gaulish village to resist Roman invasion in the Asterix and Obelix comics, fears that the sky may fall on his head tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes.
Many of us live like this too – we believe that we will have a tomorrow and another one and another…we think we are immortal. This past year has certainly made many of us take stock of our lives – the brevity of it all, realign our priorities and adopt a revised (and hopefully improved) perspective on life.
I posed this question to the children, in their Tuesday assembly: “What would you do if this was your last Christmas?”.
I stressed that this wasn’t a doom and gloom scenario, instead, it was more about challenging one to think about how one would do things differently if it were one’s last. I think we would all be kinder, more generous, more tolerant and more forgiving.
We have all read the bumper stickers: “Seize the Day”, “Live Today as if it were your last” but rarely do we stop and take notice of the real meaning staring us in the face.
I would encourage you all, and your children, to press the proverbial pause button this holiday, sit around a fire, or table, (or BBQ) and take stock. Count your blessings and celebrate the now. We have been inundated with grim and ghastly news for most of 2020, but let’s not lose sight of what’s right in front of us.
I challenged the children to do the following, over the Christmas holidays:
- Read one of the Gospels – the Gospels are incredibly enjoyable to read, and the children would benefit from hearing the Christmas story from the source, not to mention the advice Jesus gave, which is still relevant today. (The children are always shocked to hear that Christmas day wasn’t actually the date of Jesus’ birthday and that there weren’t necessarily three wise men – and that they were astrologers!)
- Pray – to think of others, to pray for the sick, the dying, the poor; to pray for families and friends; to pray for the doctors, nurses, the military – all those that need our support.
- And lastly, try to love others. I add the word try because this is not easy – in fact, this is probably the hardest of the challenges. I urged the children to think about the two commandments that Jesus shared with us: To love one another and to treat others as you would like to be treated. Simple on paper, so tricky in real life. But, if the children chose to live by these two, our school and indeed our homes, would be filled with love, kindness and a generosity of spirit that would see us including everyone and thinking of our neighbour…and possibly seeing our children help around the house more too!
So, as we make our way towards the holidays, let’s make sure that we don’t put off the things that we know we need to do. Let’s say the words we want to say (and would love to hear ourselves); let’s give freely and generously; and let’s love one another through how we think, act and speak.
I’ll end with a quote to appease the other camp, (from Tintin):
Never be afraid of embarking on an adventure, those are what makes life worth living.
HEAD of BOARDING