Thinking of our Grade 10 students this week, away on their Outdoor Program trips, both I and they are pleased that they are encountering the best weather in 25 years for the second week of September. We all think how perfect this is; that they can camp, kayak, hike, climb, take photographs, etc., wearing shorts and staying dry. It’s more like a holiday than an education.
It’s perhaps not so odd, then, that the more memorable outdoor experiences involve some bad weather. In a way, we do believe that some suffering is good for you, and no doubt adversity brings with it a challenge that tests the character in ways that comfort doesn’t. Nature, of course, couldn’t care less who is outside or inside in the midst of rain or wind or sun or cloud. This is one of the lessons of the outdoor program: that the weather will do its own thing without favoring or fearing anyone. It teaches us the lesson that we aren’t made or unmade by the things that happen to us, but by our response to them.
Outside my window today, our Grade Elevens are having a PE class, in this same glorious sun and warmth. Next week, though, they will be out on their outdoor trips. I’ll just say now that if you don’t get great weather next week, take heart that you are learning something others aren’t. Sweet are the uses of adversity.