Just Serve

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

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Alice Rumphius, is a quirky Librarian who is tasked as a young girl by her Grandfather, to do something to ‘make the world a more beautiful place’.

Alice has a wonderful life. She travels to strange and exotic places, she meets interesting people, (she is lucky enough to work in a Library!) and she does, finally, find a way to make the world a more beautiful place. Her story, courtesy of Brightly Storytime, is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFLWsch62q0.

For Environment Day this year, BHS Librarians tasked our students to do the same as Ms Rumphius; to show a way that each student can help the environment – to make, or rather just save, the beauty of our world. We were proud and excited by the students’ responses, we received ideas for plastic bottle recycling, fact sheets about the importance of bees- who help fertilise one in every three bites of the food we eat! We saw ideas for planting and growing food, and a host of creative posters showing awareness and thought for our environment.

“But I’m not Greta Thurnberg!” One of the tricky results of being locked into our houses over the past year has been the removal of children’s freedom and a diminished sense of control over their young lives. Some do feel dispirited and can’t see how they can have an effect. But everyone has a role to play. This is where service is essential. We asked Tao in Grade 9, a student member of the SDG committee why he joined. He told us: “I decided to join this committee, as I find satisfaction in contributing positively to this school. Brummana High school has always been a school embedded in nature.

The BHS SDG Committee (sustainable development goals, https://sdgs.un.org/goals) works to raise the profile of the environmental work needed worldwide. Another student committee member Natalie in Grade 12, says At BHS, having students of different ages and backgrounds allows us an even more diverse selection of ideas and fresh solutions. Working with the other students on the committee is inspiring and reassures me that our future is in good hands”.

Finding our agency, our purpose, or our service – isn’t just a lovely value for our children to have– it’s essential. Our children must feel and understand that even a small action from them, can have big consequences for people around them. When we serve, when we get out and we choose to participate, we learn more about the world around us, we empathise and we build vital life skills. Crucially, by choosing to participate, we can regain some control over our own lives. You don’t have to be Greta, just get involved, just serve!

Alice Rumphius doesn’t know straight away what her service will be, it takes her some time to find it, but it’s no accident that Ms Rumphius only achieves her task by getting outside, enjoying the world and finally, by planting something in the earth. Hers is the perfect story for Environment Day.