2nd Station – There is more in us than we know…
You will need to find a quiet place to read a short poem where you can let the story “speak” to you whilst you reflect on its meanings. You might want to have a dictionary to hand (hard copy or online) and will need internet access and a computer or pen and paper for the creative writing task at the end.
Kurt Hahn, a famous educator whose theories on education gave rise to the Round Square community, once famously said:
There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.
Hahn believed that given the right context, opportunities and encouragement, each of us can discover in ourselves more capacity for achievement, happiness, courage, compassion and kindness than we ever thought possible. Then armed with this discovery, perhaps we will continue to expect more of ourselves, and have greater confidence in our abilities throughout our lives. So where do you start?
There is a clue in Hahn’s comments. He talks about the limitations of what we KNOW. Sometimes he is quoted as saying “there is more in you than you THINK”. What does this tell us about the effect that our thoughts, assumptions and attitude can have on our real capabilities?
What happens if we take on a challenge for the sense of achievement it brings? When we take calculated risks to reap the rewards? When we view our mistakes as opportunities for growth? When we face our fears for the rush of adrenaline? When we approach adversity as a potential adventure?
Read and learn:
Read the poem below slowly from the top to the bottom. Read it twice. Consider how it makes you feel. How do you think the author felt when she wrote it? What do you think might have happened to her that day?
Worst Day Ever? By Chanie Gorkin
Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good.
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say that
Today was a very good day.
Now read the same poem from bottom to top – in reverse – and see the author’s day from a different perspective, with a more positive attitude.
Here is another reverse poem, this time about facing fear:
And here is another, this one entitled “Lost Generation”
And here is another, this one entitled “Who I am”
Take a moment to reflect on these poems. In particular consider the contrast in the printed poem between the line “the reality creates my attitude” and the opposite perspective “my attitude creates the reality”.
As the author Khalil Gibran said: “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” Or as Maya Angelou put it “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”.
Now think about your own life and consider an experience that has had (or still has) an impact on your self-belief or your confidence, for good or for bad. Can you think of a time when you changed the outcome of a situation simply by changing your attitude?
How about an instance when a potential ordeal became an adventure or vice versa because you chose the perspective from which you approached it? Or a bad experience that you can look back on with a reverse perspective? How can you draw on this experience in deciding on the attitude you might take to a similar experience in the future?
Write a short 1-2 paragraph reflection about the experience.
Consolidate your learning:
Now see if you can write a poem of your own, of no more than 21 lines, that speaks with a positive attitude in one direction and a negative one in the other. You might write about the example you captured above or an imaginary situation or issue.
You can find some guidance on writing a reverse poem here
Sharing your poem:
You are invited to post your work on social media and tag us in the post using @RoundSquare.