So here we are 2012! May I wish to ALL AND SUNDRY, the Very Best for 2012. For 2012 I’ll work on having more respondents. I am informed the requirement of an e-mail address to make comments may be a problem here. While this does slow spam, it may jar some readers. I would like to hear your views on this. I had meant to present the post below in December 2011, but its focus on relationships makes it a great guide for 2012 – recognizing and respecting our inter-relationships.
THE GBSS SCHOOL SONG (cont’d)
Earlier I pointed out that jewels were embedded throughout the School song and that pretty sure that my Headmaster (Sarcies) must have frequently sighed at the thought of pearls seemingly going to waste. Of course, lustily singing together served the purpose of making one voice that said “GBSS”; and that in itself was good.
On contemplation, this second verse of the Song speaks of relationships, casting this in the understandable mode of sports and competition. But there is more.
“The also-ran and the champion,
Each one can but do his best;
The winner’s display depends on
The efforts of all the rest.
To be in the van is not all,
For each has to play his role.”
The team wins the match at football
Though one man must kick the goal.”
Very often in competition, we do not stop to think of our relationships to one another – we think of the champions and also-rans., without seeing the relationship of one to the other. At school in Athletics, I always liked the system of “Standard House Points”, in which average students were given the opportunity to contribute. The average boys exerted themselves to make a single point; theoretically a Houses with a huge total before Sports Day had a theoretical advantage, useful if the champions of the other Houses failed on Sports Day. This was important to them and to the individual House, champions notwithstanding.
There is a real relationship established between champion and also-rans for which also-rans should, but do not get credit. Anyone remember the purpose of a ‘rabbit’ in long distance races? It was to set a pace for a faster overall performance? But I hardly heard praise for this job, given its importance to the overall standard and pace of the race. My bet is that without rabbits most of these races would be slower, even with the same jockeying for positions.
Does the winner’s display really depend on the efforts of the rest? I think so even though the tendency is to interpret speed or strength as inherent displays. In truth, the winner is always spurred on by the efforts of other racers. This speaks to the wider relationship we have among ourselves as human beings. At work or play, or even in recreation, there’s nothing we do that is not spurred on by another human being or relationship. Think about it. I carry the following adaptation from a quote by Albert Schweitzer: “We should all be thankful for those people who [kindle our] inner spirit.”
I feel strongly about recognizing the relationship for what it is worth. I recall long years ago a performance evaluation at which the employee was strutting his accomplishments stating that the other employees had not done what he had done, etc., etc. I gave him some pause by indicating that we should then reduce his scores, and give that to the others who had in fact “made him look good”. I further recall, as a Referee at Inter-Col sports, threatening a very good runner with disqualification if he continued to throw his relay baton up in the air behind him as he crossed the finish line. Not only was the action dangerous to others, but I found it quite disdainful of the other athletes who had pushed him into winning.
We all have our parts to play, including igniting the inner spirit and skill of others to win, nic4ely brought out in a recent ‘Neverland Series’ – a would-be young leader (not an Indian) tries for ascendancy in his group by seeking to lure along a set path so the Indian tribe they live with could kill it for food. When the alligator approached, he panicked with fear, and froze. The Chief’s young son then jumps down, and at great risk runs the alligator along the path to its death. The Chief then tells the ‘wannabe’ leader that a year earlier his son froze just as he did. He then pointedly thanked the youngster for his fear (he should be proud of it) as had induced the courage of his son to ‘make a winner’s display’ on this occasion. I liked that one.
I also like the last two lines of the Song for the simplicity of the truth they contain. Individual players do not win team matches; and any such compliment is invariably modified by the term “for his team”. There is a fundamental teaching lesson here. Again, it is about teamwork and relationships.
The moral: in life, recognize and be grateful to your competitor or fellow-employee if those persons push you to your best. And in group work, it is always the team that wins, no matter the size of the individual contribution.