Message from Naheed Bardai, Middle Division head
Even though an ocean and continent away, the tragedies in Paris have hit home for many of our families and boys in ways that other recent tragedies may not have, including the Russian airplane, Beirut, Baghdad and Burundi. In many ways, it’s normal to feel more attached to some tragedies over others. It seems like a natural part of the human condition to be able to empathize more easily with those who are most similar to us. However, I believe a truer test of our humanity is our ability to empathize with those who are like us and those who are less like us – who some might call “the other” (a psychological and sociological process that identifies those who are believed to be different from oneself or one’s community, which can reinforce stereotypes and misrepresentations of those people).
I’m certain that many of us are engaging in conversations at work or at home around some of the recent events in the world, and we should engage our boys in these difficult and at times controversial conversations. As we involve our boys in these conversations, let’s acknowledge their thoughts and feelings while at the same time challenging them to strive for complexity (see a previous Heads Up posting) in their thinking and analysis. It always alarms me when I hear words being thrown around in the media like “good,” “evil,” “civil” and “barbaric.” With our boys, let’s interrogate those words and not succumb to simplistic reductionist conclusions.
These types of conversations are difficult, but will hopefully help our boys to become men of empathy and intellectual dialogue.
I want to share a YouTube clip that a Form 6 parent shared with the school. I’ll share this video with students at assembly tomorrow.