Have you ever thought about how many questions you ask yourself each day? I’ve only been up two hours and here’s some of mine. Should I get up now or just have an extra 10 minutes on snooze? – What do I need to do today? – What time is it? Am I going to have a good day today? – When will Mark be able to run again? – Have I paid the phone bill? What time do I need to get Beth to David Lloyd’s tonight? When should I arrange the meeting with Lloyds Communications? – What time do I need to be in school to prepare for my assembly? – What time do I need to see the prefects today? – Cornflakes or Rice Crispies? – Am I awake or is this a dream? Should I phone the dentist today? (I already know the answer to that one!) – When should I set the RE re-test for all the lazy 5th years that failed it? – What should I get mark for his birthday? – Is it raining? What time will it be dark tonight? What have I not done for Speech Night yet? White shirt or patterned shirt? Which tie? If I am awake, how do I know that I’m not part of someone else’s dream? – Which way to school…the back way through Cronton or via the stoops’ roundabout? – Whose Smartboard bulb will fail today? Should I be Miss Oxley’s friend on Facebook? Should I be a friend to all those very kind past pupils who have invited me to be their friend? Should I try to find my password to my Facebook account and login for the first time in 3 months? Have I got enough time for a shower now that I’ve pressed the snooze button? Did Everton play yesterday or Saturday? – Who won? Did Liverpool win? – Hope Not! Is it really half term at the end of this week? Have I done all I set out to do this term? – What do I need to do to achieve my goals? – How did Robbie Kerslake and Paul Dinsdale get on when playing for the North? – What do I need to sort out with Mr Wells for Speech Day? – Should I leave now or have that bowl of Cornflakes or Rice Krispies? … and so on and on and on.
It seems as if we are pre-programmed to ask questions – a necessary pre-requisite of the human condition. Now, virtually all of the questions I asked myself are perfectly valid but fairly mundane and are just to do with the daily housekeeping of my life; a few, I hope you spotted, go a little deeper . And, it’s these questions that I’d like to address today.
Questions can reframe how we look at our lives; questions can make us stop and consider who we are, where we are and more importantly where are we going. Often, teachers tell you not to ask stupid questions – well let me tell you that the only stupid question is the one you have and you don’t ask. The pupil who goes through school unable to ask real questions will go through their studies without having learned anything at all.
I’d like to suggest that it’s like that with life as well. But, of course, I’m not referring to the questions we ask out loud in a class or discussion. I’m talking about the questions that we need to ask ourselves in order to move forward in our lives.
A famous Greek philosopher called Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living and I agree it is important to examine our life and actions every day – it is especially important to acknowledge that we don’t always act the way we want to and it’s in our power, always in our power, to change. But if we don’t ask the right questions, we could remain stuck in old assumptions, stuck in the same box, with no chance of getting the cookie. If we don’t ask the right questions, we won’t get the right answers that will move us towards growth and change.
What are the questions that you need to ask yourself? Here are a few suggestions: (Powerpoint Slides of Questions – Soundtrack by Ray Lamontagne)
- WHAT WAS YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT LAST YEAR?
- WHAT WAS YOUR GREATEST DISAPPOINTMENT?
- WHAT, IN THIS PAST YEAR, BROUGHT YOU THE MOST JOY?
- HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT WAYS TO STRUCTURE YOUR LIFE SO THAT HAPPENS MORE OFTEN?
- WHAT DID YOU DO THAT BROUGHT YOU THE MOST REGRET?
- HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR LIFE SO THAT WILL HAPPEN MUCH LESS?
- WHO DO YOU ADMIRE MOST AND WHY?
- WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU?
- DO YOU MAKE TIME TO BE WITH THEM IN A WAY THAT IS SATISFYING AND MEANINGFUL?
- WHY DID I FALL OUT WITH SO AND SO?
- WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE?
- WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW?
- WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON A REGULAR BASIS TO HELP YOU REALIZE YOUR HOPES AND PLANS?
- WHAT DO YOU WANT THIS COMMUNITY, THIS COUNTRY, THE WORLD TO LOOK LIKE A YEAR FROM NOW?
- HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT SOME SMALL WAY THAT YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THAT VISION?
- WILL YOU MAKE A SHOEBOX THIS CHRISTMAS?
Having asked the questions and having begun to answer them, I hope you’ll move towards action, redirecting how you act in your studies, in your friendships, in your families, and, of course, in Tower College.
S3 Please could you stay behind after assembly. I have some questions…!!