The day after the Wenlock Christmas Fayre. The quiet after the storm. The ferocious winds have died away. A modicum of calm is restored.
Jo has to rise early and drive to Sheffield for a Shiatsu course.
I take Holly, the dog, for a long rambling walk. Across Linden Field. Twice over Windmill Hill. Chasing balls and sticks (Holly). Meeting friends and discussing the Fayre, the unusually mild weather (Me). Eventually, Holly finds her boyfriend, Henry. Henry is a most handsome Ridgeback/Lurcher cross. A gentle giant. Holly adores Henry. They hug, roll, run, gambol, play like lunatics. It is always a joy to behold as they take turns to chase each other.
We head off up and over Wenlock Edge towards Homer where Henry lives. But part way there, Henry disappears. This happens every now and again, When Henry catches the scent of a deer. He just cannot help himself. He dreams of catching a deer. From what we observe, he has little chance of doing so. But something deep within him compels him to try.
We split up to search for him and before long he reappears. Looking shattered. Ready for a lie down. We go over the hill towards Homer. Sliding tentatively down the muddy slope into the settlement itself.
Henry looks like he could do with a rest from Holly’s constant demands to play. So, I head over to visit other friends that live in the far corner of Homer. They are kind and generous people. I will get a cup of coffee and a fancy biscuit. Holly will get a sachet of cat food (They have a cat, no dogs). Holly inhales the cat food. I sip my coffee and we talk about the Fayre, Community and Commerce.
At some point, conversation turns towards education. Our children have all gone to the same school. It is generally a good school but not without its issues. All schools have issues. Indeed, our education system in general has issues – major issues. I have spent most of my life attempting to confront these issues. I believe that successive UK Governments have put in place policies that have made our schools unhealthy places to inhabit. Unhealthy for teachers and students. Pressure cookers that create stressed, bored students who are extremely skilled at passing exams. And little else. I believe that our education system is not fit for purpose. I believe that we are failing our children by offering them a parody of an education.
This is not the fault of teachers. Though they must bear some responsibility for going along with a system that most of them know is ridiculous. But, really they are just trying their best to deliver what our Government demands of them. It is a thankless task.
All this, I must admit, sounds a bit heavy. A bit serious. And I promised that I was going to keep this year’s posts light and fluffy.
Well, the problem is serious. Heavy.
But, interestingly, I think that the answer is light. And a bit fluffy. By which I mean that, just because a problem is serious, it doesn’t mean that the way you deal with it has to be so too. Introducing lightness often does wonders.
Lightness is a fascinating concept.
During the dark days of Winter, we crave Light. We need Light. Light in the sense of Bright, for sure. Light as Not Dark.
But we also crave Light in the sense of Not Heavy. At this time of year, we pile on extra clothes. We physically carry around extra weight. And there is a tendency to move inward, towards introspection. To pile on extra layers mentally and emotionally. It can all become a bit too Heavy.
I teach Tai Chi. In Tai Chi, we learn that Lightness can be used to overcome the Heaviest of opponents. We strive to keep our movements light and relaxed. We laugh a lot and try to be joyful.
I want to explore this concept of Lightness further bit, for now, I want to leave you with today’s gift: Two talks by Sir Ken Robinson in which he outlines the problems with our education systems. he is an excellent speaker: very light and funny. Even when dealing with heavy issues. I hope that you can find time to watch them