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Please enjoy Mr Irwin's Thought for the Term

DGS Leadership Characteristic:

Knowing our Place in the World – Responsibility & Empathy

As a geographer, having a sense of place has always been something that resonated with me - no more so than when I first saw the famous Earthrise picture taken from the Apollo 8 Space Shuttle on Christmas Eve 1968. It was the first time a picture had illustrated the incredible fragility of our planet and helped it develop the growth of the modern environmental movement. The image highlights that, no matter how hectic our lives are or how important we consider ourselves as a species, we all exist on that small, blue and green dot hanging in the vastness of space.

I think that the famous American Scientist Carl Sagan put it best when he reflected upon the image and said...

“Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you've ever heard of, every human being who ever was lived out their lives. The aggregates of joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there, on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam”

What this image and Sagan’s words make me reflect upon is the fragility of our home, the recognition of our place in a global community and the importance of having both responsibility and empathy for our fellow inhabitants of the planet. It brings into sharp contrast the barbaric events that occurred in Manchester on Monday. I, for one, have been humbled by the reaction of the people of Manchester and inspired by their empathy, compassion and sense of community cohesion.

I feel similarly moved to read the ‘random acts of kindness’ notes that our students have left on the notice board in S1 as part of the school community's response to those events. It brings to the fore that wonderful sense of our community being a place where people go out of their way to recognise and celebrate what we value most about each other, secure in knowing that evil and hatred will always be eclipsed by simple acts of love, hope and compassion.

As we enter the half term holiday, consider how you can show that you belong to your local community; perhaps participate in a community event, volunteer, or simply go out of your way to do something to brighten someone’s day - from small actions such as these, strong communities grow.

Mr Irwin

Associate Senior Leader