The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

We'll See: How to Speak in Troubled Times

Once upon a time, there was a farmer. He lived in a small mountainous village in Japan, and one day his horse broke through the fence and bolted. All his  neighbours  came past that day and said, "What a terrible misfortune to befall you." But the farmer was apparently unconcerned. He replied, "We'll see."

The next day the horse returned, bringing with it a wild horse. His  neighbours  all stopped by to marvel at this beautiful new horse and said to the farmer, "Such a blessing!" But the farmer was equally unmoved. He said, "We'll see," before returning to his chores. 

The next day the farmer's son was riding the new horse to break it  in  and he fell, shattering his leg. The people of the village once again came by. "What terrible luck," they said. "We'll see," said the farmer. That very next day, an army stormed through the village, looking to conscript any able-bodied young men to go away with them and fight in a distant and dangerous war. They took one look at the farmer's son and left him alone. When the army left, the villagers approached the farmer and say to him, "Such fortune shines on your house!" And the farmer just said, "We'll see."

At times such as this, not only do we have to be sensible enough prepare for the short- to mid-term challenges, we must also be bold enough to wonder about what the future could look like, and the amazing possibilities that it holds. We also need to be wise enough to  look into  the moment, the now. There is still so much that can be taken out of these moments – little pinpoints of light and joy; simple pleasures and natural beauty; as well as deep insights into life. Why should we waste these? If we can see these, we can see the future more clearly and positively as well, I think.   

Some thoughts to share with our boys:

  • Nothing is all bad and nothing is all good
  • He won't miss out on as much as he thinks
  • And what he gains may be far more important than he  realises . Who he becomes along the way as a result of hardship is much more significant than what grade or level he gets for a subject or what mark he ends up with as an  ATAR.  Having to work more by himself; having to take more responsibility for his own learning and wellbeing; and having to find ways to work with others and be creative with his time, will turn him into a far more remarkable human being than he  realises  right now   

Some more general thoughts:

  • Perhaps this can be our finest hour
  • Perhaps it can be our children's finest hour
  • Perhaps it will make them into a strong, cohesive, compassionate, resilient generation who can do for others and for the planet what previous generations have talked about and promised without ever delivering. In large part, that is up to them. But we must also shine the light to guide them forward; in this sense, it is very much up to us as well.

This situation has magnified truths which should be self-evident:

  • That we should learn to make do with less
  • That we should be happy with what we have and who and what is around us

"Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions."

Oliver Wendell Holme s,  The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table

SchoolTV :

Our online subscription to  SchoolTV  means that we have access to their most recent special report: Preparing for Homeschooling. Parents may wish to have a look at this via the following link:

Other useful links/good reads:

At times like this, I know people are bombarded with information, but if you have time and feel inclined, you may like to read through some of these:

Let me finish this fortnight's rumination with this lovely quote from Anne Frank, which highlights something of the delicate balance we all  have to  negotiate:

"At such moments I don't think about all the misery, but about the beauty that still remains. This is where Mother and I differ greatly. Her advice in the face of melancholy is: 'Think about all the suffering in the world and be thankful you're not part of it.' My advice is: 'Go outside, to the country, enjoy the sun and all nature has to offer. Go outside and try to recapture the happiness within yourself; think of all the beauty in yourself and in everything around you and be happy.'

"I don't think Mother's advice can be right, because what are you supposed to do if you become part of the suffering? You'd be completely lost. On the contrary, beauty remains, even in misfortune. If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance. A person who's happy will make others happy; a person who has courage and faith will never die in misery!"

Anne Frank,  The Diary of Anne Frank , March 6, 1944