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‘Inspiration’ has become a glib noun.

11 June 2020

It has been hijacked by marketers, soothsayers and self-help books, so that now we aspire to be inspired and feel unfulfilled if we aren’t. Inspiration has become synonymous with performance—beyond us, to be reached—rather than, in its rightful form, part of us all to be explored.

Autumn News From the Principal

Year 11 Drama students engaging with a fellow student in Hong Kong via Zoom

Hasn’t COVID-19 shifted our thinking dramatically? Those that we have been encouraged to look to for inspiration were absent, uninspiring or just human, like us. Instead, it is the doctors, nurses, teachers, volunteers, health experts, parents and people with big hearts who offered us glimpses of commitment that inspire action. Collective national handclapping and acknowledgments beamed over international media have demonstrated how moved we are by one another.

We are moved by people who find a place in themselves to help others—singing on balconies, offering thanks, encouraging a commitment to our collective efforts to stave off a serious pandemic, feeling connected to a bigger purpose. We seem inspired by that, inspired to think more deeply and see more clearly.

Inspiration is part of us all. It may be so automatic to us that it takes others to point it out. That has been a feature of the past 3 months—bothering to point it out. What folly for our society to forget to tell one another that what they do matters? What a relief that we started doing it again.

Let’s bother, Pembroke; let’s bother to help people be an inspiration to themselves by pointing it out.

Luke Thomson