Tristan Jamson, a student from Launceston Church Grammar School shared the following ‘Inspirational Words’ at my final Bishop’s Day School Assembly:
History is a wonderful thing. From history we learn of our most significant achievements and our biggest mistakes. We hear of the voices, ideas, actions and contributions of the great heroes of humanity. We see the atrocities that have been brought upon society by war, hatred and ignorance.
History is very special, because it gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the events that have shaped our world into what it is today. It gives us an ability to confidently make judgements as to whether certain past events were good or bad, whether we want to see more like them or why they never should have happened in the first place. But the thing about history is that it is forever being written, by us.
I’m sure for some of you, history means just another less-than-stimulating class time experience. But realise this.
Every day you live you are given the chance to contribute to history, to engage with the world around you, to make your mark and to be more than just another face in the crowd. Being part of history isn’t all about revolutionary events with a global audience. History is made from the day-to-day and what you choose that day to be. Whether it be achieving something of importance to you, or just helping out a friend. Whether it be playing your part in your team’s win or volunteering your time for a worthy cause. Whether it be making someone view an idea in a way that they’ve never viewed it before or standing up for something you believe in and not taking ‘no’ for an answer, no matter how insignificant the details may be. You are constantly changing the course of history by getting up everyday and doing what matters to you.
This year Australia lost a true statesman. Malcolm Fraser, Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, who was in office from 1975 to 1983, passed away on the 20th of March 2015 at the age of 84. Fraser was a man who believed and advocated very strongly in universal equality, and he never let politics get in the way of showing this. He endorsed most vocally the value of multiculturalism in Australian society and his legacy of this still exists today in the form of the SBS and the Australian Ethnic Affairs Council. In one of Malcolm Fraser’s last ever interviews, when asked if he wanted to be thought well of in history, he answered, “I suppose at my age whatever historians right about me has all pretty well been written. If history thinks well of you that’s fine, but history has thought well of some pretty disreputable characters at times. Maybe what’s more important is to try and do your best and to know for yourself that you’ve tried to do your best, and have stuck by ideas or principles that you think are important.” So consider this.
We will not all be the Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi of a civil rights movement. We will not all be the Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs of the development of modern technology. We will not all be the Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking of physical sciences. We will not all be the Leonardo da Vinci or Pablo Picasso of the arts. You may not even have the honour of being captain of the Grammar surfing team. But what is important is that you contribute to the world what you would have yourself contribute, so that you may be satisfied when you have to leave it. We are all given a life on the known condition that it must one day be taken away from us. We are all born with the knowledge that our existence cannot and will not last forever. Such a thought is of course sad to think about, but it can be a very liberating feeling to accept that your time is limited. So do not wait to make history in your own right. Do the things that matter to you. Be the change that you wish to see in the world, so that you may have the ability to say that the one you left was better than the one you came into.
Live your life so that you may have no regrets. As the timeless Latin expression goes, Carpe Diem; seize the day.
You can’t afford not to, because you simply have no time to waste.
(permission to publish granted)