School News & Blog

October 11, 2012

An Antidote for Our Growing Lack of Humanity

There were some great speakers at the ACEL (Australian Council for Educational Leaders) National Conference, “An Inquiry Mindset”, which I attended in Brisbane recently.

The speaker from whom I gained the most was Tim Costello. As you may know, he is the current CEO of World Vision Australia, and Australia’s unofficial conscience. I found him an engaging speaker and quite a humble person — an impression you don’t always get from the 15 second news grabs on TV.

He reflected on how the immediacy of technology is turning us inside out and creating confusion. He gave the example of speaking at a conference in South America and having his comments tweeted around the world and reported in Sydney (totally out of context), before he had even finished his address.

He also spoke about working with the Naga people of Northern India who are extremely economically disadvantaged. When they went with him to London and were asked how Londoners might help them, their reply was “You can help us by letting us help you.” When pressed, they explained that they could see so much loneliness and sadness in the English people that they just wanted to help them. It spoke volumes about our priorities compared to theirs and reminded me very much of Mother Theresa’s comments on visiting the West.

Tim Costello’s greatest concern is what he sees as our growing lack of humanity. He reflected on his own impatience and how that could translate into anger when things did not go his way.

So I was very pleased for our school when, after I had delivered a paper entitled “Leading and Teaching from the Heart and Soul” in a later seminar session, the moderator remarked that it was heartening to hear that such as School as ours existed and that it was a real antidote to Tim Costello’s warning about our lack of humanity.