Please enjoy Miss Littler's Thought for the TermPosted on: 04/03/2022
“One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or assertive enough, or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.”
This week I have woken up each morning fearful of what images will be playing on the news and waiting to see what horror may have played out overnight in Ukraine. It feels we are living in an alternate reality, unable to believe that this has happened so quickly and sickened by the human cost of war.
It can be hard to find hope in times of darkness, yet the news is also full of stories of enormous bravery, dignity and compassion and it is this that must be our anchor and our inspiration for the doubtless difficult days ahead.
It can be difficult to equate kindness with strength and the above quote from Jacinda Ardern is something I often return to. As a leader, it can be tempting to assume that strength comes from a show of force. There may be times where displays of strength are needed, to protect those around you, to guide and to support but more often it is compassion and humanity which are the true strengths of leadership. This feels particularly apt as we watch what is happening on the world stage.
Compassion requires great selflessness and we can always work to improve our capacity to demonstrate this. I often reflect on situations as I drive home along the M4 and consider how I could have approached it differently or better and inevitably results in the realisation that I could simply have been kinder in my thinking or more patient in my approach. I hope that in knowing this, it helps me to continue to try and improve, at least that is what I tell myself!
As war rages on, the compassion of the school community towards those suffering has been heartfelt and genuine. I take huge comfort that the generations to come will continue to fight to ensure peace and to approach life with kindness as their guiding principle rather than aggression.