As a fan of Triathlon and supporter of British sport in general, I was disappointed to see Jonathan Brownlee narrowly lose the opportunity to claim his title in the World Triathlon Series. However, my disappointment was tempered by the incredible scenes at the end of the final race in Mexico. If you didn’t watch it, Alistair Brownlee, Jonathan’s older brother, seeing that his younger brother was suffering terribly from heat exhaustion, picked him up and helped him over the remaining 700 metres, running with his arm underneath him, literally throwing him across the finishing line.
It was an astonishing example of someone else putting their own needs second and helping someone else first. It is why I showed footage of the race in my assemblies this week and used it to prompt the children about the importance of helping others within our school community. Having thought about the values of our community through September, I want to focus the children through October on the different ways they can help one another. There are three things in particular I want to emphasise:
• Helping others with routine tasks
• Helping others to learn and grow
• Helping others to keep them safe
All the time, in school and at home, there are many ways children can help others with routine tasks that all have to get done: it could be tidying up at the end of a lesson, clearing dishes after a meal, hanging coats up on pegs or brushing your teeth twice daily without being asked! Similarly, there are times when children can offer to help each other learn when they may be struggling with a task or trying to learn a new skill. Having asked someone whether they want help, you can demonstrate how to do it or simply give the other person some encouraging words and helpful tips.
Finally, helping others to keep safe is a key responsibility, particular when those around us may be unhappy or reluctant to ask for help when they are in difficulty. Within a community such as ours, there is always the possibility of someone saying or doing something unkind to another person: we all have a responsibility to stand up to unkind words and actions towards others, share the actions of others with adults if they are breaking school rules and encourage our friends to share with an adult if they are unhappy or speak up on their behalf if need be. Though it can be hard to do, it makes a huge and positive difference to each one of us if we help one another to keep safe at difficult times.
Though Alistair may have been Jonathan’s brother, as he said at the time, he would have done it for any other athlete who was in difficulty. I hope the children continue to learn from Alistair Brownlee’s example and extend their helpful actions and words towards one another with even greater determination than before.
Mr Guy Rands