This is Me

The sun shone on occasions for our Prep Sports Day today, one of the highlights of the school calendar. It is a time when children have the opportunity to show their individuality but also demonstrate their collaborative skills. The blockbuster film “The Greatest Showman” includes a song entitled, “This is Me.” The first verse is as follows:

   I am not a stranger to the dark 
   Hide away, they say
   'Cause we don't want your broken parts
   I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
   Run away, they say
   No one'll love you as you are

Our minds are wired to look for pattern. The human brain has evolved to recognise patterns, perhaps more than any other single function. Our brain is weak at processing logic, remembering facts, and making calculations, but pattern recognition is its deep core capability. The problem we have, however, is that every person is unique, with their own set of beliefs, interests, cultures, ethnicity and backgrounds. We cannot and must not look for patterns in people. We must see others for who they are.

Native Americans are well known for their beliefs about the sacredness of nature. They aim to see the holiness in the spirit of everything around us. This leads to a deep sense of admiration for nature in the people. For them, all truth can be found in nature. Consider for a moment that we extend this view of the world to include the entire human race. We would treat every single person we met with respect and kindness. We would show more concern for others in need and we would offer our help more readily. We would also, naturally, be more understanding and accepting of differences in others.

Discrimination in any form comes from a place of fear. Intolerance comes from a fearful position of loss of power, which creates an overwhelming need to control others with what we believe to be true. Early influences in our lives can have a huge bearing on the way we think in this respect. A child who grows up in a diverse locality with adults who encourage the child to mix with everybody will be more open to embracing others who are different from them.

William Shakespeare once said, “Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Taking this forwards, there is no right or wrong way of seeing or doing things. Essentially the world is neutral and we give it meaning based on the interpretations we apply.

When a counsellor is in training they learn to develop an awareness of their own “stuff,” their own prejudices and ways of thinking. By looking inwardly the trainee counsellor becomes more conscious of how they may be projecting their insecurities and judgements onto others. If we all clear our minds and hearts we open the way for more understanding in our interactions, which is a huge benefit of self-awareness. If we actively choose to challenge our own judgements and insecurities, it can positively influence the happiness in those around us.

At Yateley Manor we are preparing children for successful adult lives. As adults we relate to all sorts of people, each one an individual. We live in a diverse society. As a community we must challenge discrimination, because if we do not we are engendering in our children a sense of intolerance of difference and they will struggle in later life. We celebrate difference and individuality at Yateley Manor. Children are proud of who they are and what they believe because we teach them to respect one another.

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” (Nelson Mandela)