Human nature is a funny thing. We always want the latest phone with all the apps, the newest car, the football shirt for this season etc. but are we ever happy with what we get or do we always think we can do better?
Today I visited the Education Show ready to get bags of freebies and the best deals possible. Ambling round the stalls, my colleagues and I were moaning about the lack of freebies and the absence of generosity from the retailers. Even though in my hand I held numerous bags containing; CD roms, pens, pencils and glue sticks (a much-needed teacher resource!) which I managed to obtain without burning too much of a hole in my pocket! As I was nearing the end of the enormous trek around the NEC, I stumbled across an outdoor play retailer. The friendly stall guide began his sales pitch trying to persuade us to buy these amazing products. After the pitch he asked about the facilities already in place. As I began to reel off the items within our brand new school I saw his eyes light up and a smile spread across his face. He was amazed by the facilities our school provides for our children. The discussion quickly changed to how fortunate the children are. At this point I was very quick in explaining how the children don’t see this and they will only learn the true value of our facilities when they leave in Yr6 and no longer have access to them. This was a great reminder to me that we all struggle with being grateful for what we have. When was the last time you thought about how fortunate you are?
For the last two years I have accompanied Chennai Challenge to India and for most team members the hardest issue to deal with personally is this issue of us individually being too materialistic. These trips not only allow us to help the deprived and disadvantaged, they challenge us to think about the way in which we live our lives and our personal attitudes and values. I was particularly challenged through seeing the lack of possessions the children at the Boys Town have. I tell no lie when I say they can fit all their possessions in a small suitcase the size of my hand-luggage case! When I think about this and compare it to the possessions of children within my Yr6 class it disappoints me that they cannot see their fortunes and maybe adopt a more gracious attitude.
The people of Chennai live for what they have rather than what they don’t have. Jealousy and greed are two emotions that can drive us as humans however I believe that we need to adopt an attitude of gratitude, focusing on what is right in our lives and be thankful for those things. This opportunity to visit Chennai not only affects the people who we go and help but it allows us to adapt our personal views and in turn highlight to others how lucky we all are. I can’t wait to return this year to see what a difference we made last year and how we can help now!