Chaplain’s thought for the week
Revd Tom reflects on learning to live
I accompanied our Sixth Form pupils this week to the ‘Learn 2 Live’ presentation at Exeter University, an event aimed at young people who are beginning to drive with the purpose of educating them about road safety. The message is clear and shocking: one thoughtless moment in a car on a road can cause death. Our pupils were encouraged to take responsibility, both for their own driving and in their role as passengers. They should never be in a position in which they are made to feel uncomfortable by another’s dangerous driving.
As we listened to the stories from representatives of the emergency services and watched a drama about a road accident, I felt deeply disturbed, but also pleased that our school takes part in an event like this. This is a hugely important part of our pupils’ education: if they don’t ‘learn to live’ by taking responsibility for their safety, putting lives at risk, everything else we teach is wasted. I hope that the stories they heard yesterday will stick with them, and the messages of the event should continue to be re-enforced by both parents and teachers.
But I felt there was an even deeper dimension to the message we heard at ‘Learn 2 Live’, one which goes far beyond the issue of road safety. As we listened to the various stories – the police family liaison officer who has to break tragic news to relatives; the fireman who endeavours to prevent families from seeing the scene of a car wreck; a mother who lost a beloved daughter – I discerned a much deeper message about both the fragility and sanctity of human life. The stories we heard are tragic because relationships are what life is all about.
The event will have truly helped those of us who were there to ‘learn to live’ if as a result we cherish our relationships more, if we feel greater gratitude for those we love, and if we tell them how we feel more often. The mother of Anna, who died in a tragic car accident nine years ago, told our pupils: ‘You are all precious; you are all wonderful.’ Amen to that! May we never forget it.