When does education end and humiliation begin?
Every year before COVID there was one activity that the whole school took part in at the same time in the same place. It inspired love, loathing, hatred, imaginative illnesses, parental forgeries and post the event a real sense of a collective hurdle negotiated and beaten along with a swelling of self esteem at having been faced with something difficult, sucking it up and coming out the other side.
Post Covid the communal aspect of the activity has been watered down slightly in that only a couple of year groups take part together at the same time but still everyone does it!
The School Cross Country – 5kms through the mud, often in the rain. Large , small, tall, able bodied or challenged everyone does it or at least has a go. I have seen a boy on crutches complete the course in order to contribute to his form’s score. I have watched entire forms run in synch at the pace of the least able. It is a wonderful piece of out classroom education.
However the clamour from parents grows ever louder that ‘forcing’ their child to take part is potentially bullying and definitely humiliating for their precious offspring. They refuse to allow their children to develop some resilience and in doing so potentially set them up for immense difficulties later on in this thing we call life. Sure, it can be bloody grim if it’s pissing down and you slip in the mud and others may laugh at your misfortune but similarly you can grumble in unison at the elements, shaking your fist at the capricious Gods and their disdain for you whilst laughing with your fellow sufferers, you can deliberately coat yourself in mud just for a giggle and furthermore throw mud at those that laugh at you.
How many of us have memories of our school days that are actually based around some reviled activity being shared with friends – lots of us I would safely bet?
Let ’em suffer (a bit) – it’s good for them!!
This week the first rays of spring sunshine hit my face for more than 5 minutes and inspired me to dig out some sunny songs. First up the splendidly recumbent Mojave 3 with their Drakien English hymnal, then the remix of Brittany Howard featuring Childish Gambino – left field for this site but gorgeous and then the criminally underrated Jason Kent. As ever take what you want or need.