Canada Day: Making room for each other

As Canada Day approached, I wondered what I would write this year. I’ve written a few posts about it, and I started to think I’d covered everything. Then the principal of my son’s high school gave me the inspiration I needed during his speech to the 2015 graduating class.

maple-leafThe first phrase that caught my ear:

“As a Principal, I am often asked about what it is like in schools these days.  It is a wonderful privilege to be able to share your truth.  You are stronger, smarter and more socially conscious than generations before you, including mine.  You are notably more inclusive and the magical way you make room for each other is a beautiful thing to witness.”

When he spoke those words to the auditorium, heads nodded in agreement. One gentleman in the back called out, “Hear! Hear!”

The graduating class that sat together with ease and acceptance—representatives of all those different races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, genders and sexual orientations—is a microcosm of Canada at its best.

People magically making room for each other. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.

The second phrase that caught my ear:

“In the school context you have made great efforts to grow each other. But, you have also reached far beyond the school. You have gathered and delivered aid to refugees half a world away. In countless ways you have toiled to benefit others in need, raising money and awareness. In many cases the benefits have gone to people you will never meet. I have long been interested in the very notion of a public good, the idea that our base instincts could be moderated by a compelling commitment to each other and to a time we will not see.”

The graduating class that worked together to grow each other and the world—organizers of all those fundraisers, educational events and benefits—is a microcosm of Canada at its best.

People moderating base instincts to make a compelling commitment to people we will never meet and a time we will not see.

Oh, Canada is not perfect, but we are magically, compellingly working toward a worldwide public good.

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About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on June 30, 2015, in Arlene Smith, Arlene Somerton Smith, How do you define success?, Inspiration, life, Living life to the fullest, outreach and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Jennifer Grant

    How people literally make room for each other is what most impressed me about India. The nation of more than one billion people seems to function by simply making room for each other. People and traffic never seem to stop but are in a constant flow adapting to the presence and proximity of others. While it may appear chaotic it operates with civility.

  2. That’s the kind of high school principal every high school needs.

  3. David Walters, Lethbridge Alberta

    I was principal of a rural Alberta K-9 school for the past 5 years and although I never gave such a moving graduation speech, I concur that most students these days are very impressively accepting, tolerant, and empathetic in making room for others with differences and they are also remarkably generous and thoughtful in making contributions to distant people in need. So you could say that they are able to think globally and act locally, but they also act globally and think locally. I also read the other posts. Yep I am one of your American brothers, born in Idaho, with opinions on gun control (even though I don’t have one myself) yep a brother from the south on an extended sleep-over in Canada where you make me feel at home. Maybe its the underlying freedom-i-ness we share and appreciate. Thanks for letting me stay for a while. Thanks for your nice posts.

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