Hero photograph
Photo by Nick Colville

Resiliency in Extraordinary Times

Richard Edmundson —

Nāku te rourou nāu te rourou ka ora ai te iwi. With your basket and my basket the people will live. Community and collaboration are all.

Kia ora koutou. Talofa. Kia Orana. Malo e lelei. Bula. Fakaalofa atu. Namaste and Kumusta. Greetings to everyone at LCŌ and our wider LCŌ community as we look ahead to Level 3.

I have been reminded by a smiling colleague that in a newsletter at the start of the year I mentioned that we were not having to shift schools as we did last year. I wrote, "It certainly is very positive to know that 2020 and 2021 are settled years. We are calling this Phase 2."  

Ha! I got that completely wrong.

I knew I had heard a proverb about this. I thought it was from the Ancient Greeks but I have looked it up and it is an old Yiddish proverb: We plan, God laughs. This spurred my interest and I wondered about a whakataukī. I know there will be one for this, and at the moment the closest I have found is He manako te kōura i kore ai: A crayfish won't jump in your net just because you wish it in there. Yes, this relates - Don't count your chickens before they are hatched - but I know that there will be an even more appropriate whakatauki so, the experts out there, please let me know. 

I have never known anything like our past few months. We are in extraordinary times and everyone is affected. I am also very aware that while we are all in this together, the way that we have had to experience it is very different. The rise in demand for food parcels nationally, and in our community, is a clear example of this. All of us are having to be resilient but some of us are having to be even more resilient than others. I want to acknowledge the courage of everyone who are facing the even deeper challenges and as they find the resiliency to keep responding positively.

I asked my elderly mother if she has ever known anything like this. She hadn't. The closest she could think of was the polio epidemic of 1947. This was the year that polio, "the summer sickness", closed all NZ schools, with all North Island schools being closed for over four months. A polio vaccine became available in 1957.

Schooling matters as learning matters. I am not going to talk about learning progress and assessments here. Of course they are important as there is great joy in discovering, in learning, in progress, but what I want to focus on are other lessons. The lessons of aroha, whanaungatanga and community, manaakitanga and generosity of spirit, resiliency and many others. These are what define us as a person and these are lessons that every NZ school student has been learning. Equally wonderfully, these eternal truths and qualities are also the foundation for school learning. "I know myself, I know my whānau and through this I know my pathway." It is beautifully circular. "I know myself so I can learn; through my learning I know myself."  And on the premise that you are never to old to learn, my mother has learned how to use Zoom.

I wrote recently that I feel so honoured to be at our kura, our precious LCŌ. And, going really big picture, and in this time of ANZAC Day, I am quietly proud of our national response. Mahi tahi - working together. Last week I learned that one of my heroes, Sir Michael Jones, and his whānau, 10 years ago set up a foodbank in Auckland. I find that inspirational.

My usual ending for these articles is that schools can be complex places so if any member of the community wishes to talk to me about anything, I welcome them contacting me directly. I usually end with "My door is open." At present, it is a digital door but the principle still applies. My contact details are: en@linwoodcollege.school.nz and 027 6221090.

Until we see one another again in person, go well.

Ngā mihi nui 

Richard Edmundson Tumuaki-Principal