The title of this post is a quote taken from one of Tennyson's poems, 'The Flower', and sums up so much of life, but never more so is it relevant to today's world. If you get chance, please look up the poem and read it, reflect on where we are and where we need to be. For instance, look at what happened during the Euro finals this year, how truly amazing those young men were. They brought our country together, united people from all walks of life, and came out fighting. As Tennyson says in the poem, 'They wore a crown of light'. But many of the team had also been silently fighting against a vicious underbelly of racism from individuals who were happy to steal and parade the glory, posting those banners with 'pride', whilst it worked in their favour: 'Splendid is the flower!' and all that! Those that know me, hopefully know that I will never tolerate racism, xenophobia, homophobia, ableism and so on. I believe in inclusivity and opportunities for all because I want to live in a society where we can enrich ourselves by being surrounded by people who have something positive to contribute.
The truth be told, I'm really not an avid football fan under normal circumstances, but the young men of the England squad made be proud to say they were 'our team'. They taught our young people a valuable lesson by proving they were united and unbreakable, because when that happens tyranny - the racists, xenophobes, homophobes, bullies, and so on - can never take power as we don't allow them the room to grow. Taking the knee is a powerful image, but it symbolises so much more in today's society. Life can be tough, and sometimes others may not value your contribution as much as they should. They may even turn against you when you've done nothing wrong, just as some did against the amazing young men in the England team, but they do not know you so please don't allow them to creep into your mind. They have no idea how truly incredible you are and what you will go on and achieve for yourself and for others. There will always be some people who hurl insults (see the 'weed' in the poem or what players like Marcus Rashford have been through) or under-value you. However, they are probably doing this to mask their own insecurities because, deep down, they know the strength and power you have. I've no doubt that the generation of students we have today will contain some of the most incredible minds we will ever see, and I count myself lucky to be working alongside young people every day because I'm forever learning from them. They are 'our team' and are going to make their mark on this world with compassion, mindfulness and resilience as they have grown up and educated themselves during the pandemic when life hasn't been easy for many. They have a common bond, a sense of unity, just like that shown by the England lads, that people of my generation will possibly never know. The young people growing up around us are the absolute blooming 'flowers' of society.
The credit for the beautiful photograph of the flowers must go to Eden, age 11 (KS3 English student).