Tuesday, 19 March 2019

On kindness at Hornby High School

In the wake of Friday's dreadful events here in Christchurch, there is much to be said. It will take us a long time as communities and as a nation to say everything that is in our hearts and minds. I wanted toishare with you my message to today's junior assembly.


Ki te kuru te Huruhuru Ao o Horomaka - tena koe

‘Mā te huruhuru, ka rere te manu’
‘Feathers enable the bird to fly’

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

What is Aroha? What is love? What is manaaki? What is kindness? I speak of these things often, and as we think about those awful events of last Friday, I  (along with many others) am saying that the answers lie in love and kindness. But what is love? I’ve just read you one writer's take on it.. Shakespeare's famous sonnet #116.

But English is a confusing language.  In English that one word has many meanings: love between man and woman whether sexual love or not, between man and man, between mother and child, between brother and sister, between fellow soldiers.. The list goes on. In Greek there are at least four, if not six, different words for love. I’m not a Greek scholar so I was unable to critically evaluate the different Google responses to that question.

Yet every single use of the word has something in common: the ability to empathise (to understand another person's feelings), the ability to care, the desire to support, nurture and protect another person. Built into the word love is the value of respect, which is of course one of our four values here at Hornby High School. I defy you to show me an example of love in which respect is not present. Not real love anyway.

You might even like to describe aroha as an absence of hate, although I think love is much much more than that.

What we can say for certain in our current world is that we don’t have enough of it. Back in the 1960s the Beatles wrote/recorded a song titled ‘All you need is love’, and never has that been more true than now.

Listen to this:

Your generation can make a difference. YOU can make a difference.

Already this week we have seen students your age, and younger and older, making a very clear statement, first about climate change, and now about the atrocities, the obscenities, that were the brutal shootings last week.

Your latest minor squabble with the person sitting next to you in class frankly is just so unimportant. The need for more love and kindness, for more aroha and manaaki, in the world is a cause worth fighting for. This is big! Do you want to change the world? If you want to make that positive change in the world, change THIS. BE the change you want to see. Don’t wait, do it now. Show love and kindness, tolerance and acceptance.

Our differences are something worth celebrating, not something to be afraid of. Every one of you is a beautiful person, and you deserve aroha and manaaki. If there is a God in your life, then thank God that we are all different, because our differences give us a richness in life that we would not find any other way. If you have no God in your life, then simply be thankful for our humanity as it gives us the difference, the richness, in which we can bathe. There is no judgement about you for your beliefs. Support each other, be kind to each other. Spread the message of love for our fellow human beings. Please!!!

Just…. be… KIND.

It was Martin Luther King, Jr who said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.

Robin Sutton

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