BDMAT Value Spotlight – Hope

We’ve all heard the phrase “there is always hope”, usually at the darkest moment in the plot of a film or book, when things look really bad.  Hope is a part of our very humanity that pops up when we most need it, when we feel like the challenges we face are too much. 

Thinking about hope, my mind returns to a book I cherished as a young boy, Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien, who grew up just a few miles from where I’m sitting writing this.  Tolkien’s work made a huge impression on me, it captured my young imagination, telling the tale of brave Frodo who struggled on against all the odds.  On his journey he had a worthy companion, who, when they looked to be defeated, their quest over, he said (in the film anyway!): 

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy?  But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.  A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.” 

I think this really captures my idea of hope.  Hope provides us with strength – the strength to overcome difficult times, to overcome challenges or adversity – and by overcoming one challenge, we develop the strength to overcome the next.  And pretty soon we don’t feel a need to cling to hope because we don’t need to.  We’re strong, resilient and confident in our capacity to handle the things life may throw at us.  Having hope and overcoming challenges, especially those you didn’t think you could overcome, that’s special and, if you’ve ever been there, it does seem like the sun shines just that little bit brighter, at least for a while. 

Children growing up today face all sorts of difficulties. For those of us, like me, who finished school over 2 decades ago, it’s almost impossible to comprehend what it feels like growing up in such a fast moving, changing, and uncertain world.  The world today can feel like a very scary place.  Across BDMAT there will be children living in poverty, living with anxiety or depression, torn from their home due to war or oppression, or struggling with their own identity.  For these pupils, for any pupil who is facing a dark moment, it is our duty to provide them with a sanctuary, a safe space to be, and with hope.  Hope that the dark moments will pass and the sun will shine again. 

Our CEO, Christopher Mansell, reflects on the importance of hope in the Christian faith –

“BDMAT’s value of ‘Hope’ is deeply rooted in our Christian vision that God has plans for each of us, and in Him, we can trust. Just as the Christian faith teaches us to have hope in God’s plans, BDMAT encourages its members to maintain hope in all circumstances, knowing that God is working for their good. This value inspires us to remain optimistic, even in challenging times, believing that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It reminds us to trust in God’s guidance and to approach each day with a positive outlook, knowing that our future is in His hands.”

This isn’t just our duty as people who work in education.  This is the duty of all of us.  In fact, it isn’t a duty at all.  It’s a privilege.  To provide each other with sanctuary, safety and hope.  If we can do that, there isn’t just hope for the future, there is the strength and resilience to battle for a better future and the excitement that we can be part of creating one. 

I’ll finish with another quote, this one from Stephen Hawking: 

“There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope”

Simon Bentley – Deputy CEO – BDMAT