The Power of Love

The Power of Love

Last week there was a terrible act of terrorism in New Zealand. 50 people were killed as they were quietly attending worship. Killed by someone who decided that even though he had never met any of these people, he hated them because of their religion or nationality. There is a deep sense of shock in the staff as we know what a peaceful, welcoming and friendly place New Zealand is.
Events like this occur all too frequently in our world. They ask the question – how do we respond when we are confronted by news of terrorist activities that destroy the lives of innocent people who were merely going about their daily lives?
In thinking about this, a natural response might be to hide away or ‘pull down the blinds’ as we might consider that this is the best way to protect those we love. Another possible response, especially sometimes for boys, is to go on the offence taking a view that attack is the best form of defence. But this would only make things worse. So what is a better response for those of us who come together to form an international school – how do we encourage children to be leaders in their communities, to support values and concepts like diversity, community; to be an inquirer, communicator, and thinker; adopt a balanced approach; and fundamentally act as open minded, caring and principled people?
I believe the best way to confront what we are seeing is through our actions. We live in a diverse society that runs the risk of being torn apart by fear. If we genuinely believe in the future of our world, then we need to demonstrate what we believe through the way we speak and act, and so show there is a better way to treat each other. In other words, we live the statement, “do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”

How do we do this? William Wordsworth, the great poet said, “The best portion of a good person’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”
But what does this mean in practice? As I wrote in the last newsletter, this doesn’t mean that we need to go out and find some great thing to do in order to ‘save the world,’ rather each of us can contribute to a better society through our own individual actions. We can do it each day in the way we treat each other, speak to one another, look after our family, friends or strangers; by being careful and thoughtful in what we say; by treating others with love; by being proactive rather than reactive; by calming rather than inflaming situations; and of course by setting the example for others. Parents have a great responsibility in this for our children will often model their behaviour on our own. In other words, we act kindly, encourage mercy and walk humbly. It is through these acts of kindness that we help others (especially those who may be new) by making everyone feel safe, secure and loved and we grow as a community. The best way to challenge a wrong is by doing a good. And we can all do a good to someone today.
When the Council of International Schools visited AIS they indicated that the school was a highly respectful community in that the staff and students all treated each other with respect. Long may this continue. In the end, our partnership with parents means that a good school is a place where students have the opportunity to be the best they can be by practising the above, knowing that via the school and home, provides a safety net underneath them. In doing so, they will achieve far greater success than all the academic learning we can give them.

Dr Roderick Crouch