Action and Words by Sophie Baber
What is the difference between actions and words? Both are types of communication. However, one has to question whether we make strong statements and then fail to follow through with our deeds?
With that thought in mind, I have decided to tell you a story:
On 30th June 1859, Charles Blondin performed a truly amazing stunt. In front of a huge crowd, Blondin walked across a tightrope 335 metres long. Unbelievably, this tightrope was stretched above Niagra Falls! Not satisfied with his astonishing achievement, Blondin added increased difficulty to each future attempt. This culminated in him asking the crowd whether they believed that he could make the crossing again, but this time carrying a man upon his back!
The crowd roared with excitement. “Yes!” they chanted. So Blondin asked for a volunteer… Needless to say, the previously exuberant crowd were now nervously silent. No one was prepared to follow their words with actions. As someone who looked up with trepidation at our Year 3 children scrambling up the climbing wall on Monday, I can’t say that I blame them.
Eventually, Blondin’s manager, Harry Colcord, had the courage to act upon his words and show his trust in Blondin’s abilities. Blondin proceeded to carry Colcord safely across the falls to gasps of amazement and rapturous applause.
This week is Recycle Week, the perfect follow-on from last Friday. It was a day when millions took to the streets to protest against the lack of action that has been taken to tackle climate change. The pictures of people marching through towns and cities all over the world have been hugely powerful. But, yet again, it was Greta Thunberg’s impassioned words which brought home the enormity of the situation. Greta is someone who does not stand by words alone; she is an individual who follows her beliefs with actions, as the children discovered in assembly, when we discussed her journey to the UN climate change summit in New York. Her voyage across the Atlantic aboard The Malizia II with no heating, no kitchen, no fridge, no shower and even no bathroom certainly gave us food for thought.
We have a responsibility to prepare our children for the future. There is absolutely no question that climate change is the most significant crisis that we have ever faced. But are we, as a school, leading by example? Here are a few facts to help you consider this question:
As a community, we must constantly strive to turn our words into actions. After all, our children will remember deeds, long after they have forgotten words. The list above is not exhaustive. It is a starting point. We cannot settle and say that the box has been ticked. The children who represent their peers on Eco Councils will be meeting throughout the year to ensure that we keep our environmental responsibility at the top of our school agenda.
So, as the saying goes… Watch this space!