This past weekend, St. Michael’s School presented The Lion King. The performance by our third through eighth grade students was spectacular. From the sets to the make-up, the music, and the enthusiasm of the cast, this year’s musical received rave reviews from the 900+ in attendance. The Lion King was the perfect musical to end the month of January and our ongoing conversations with students regarding the value of courage.
Courage is demonstrated in many different ways. It might be in doing something challenging or trying something that has never been attempted before. Perhaps for some of our young thespians, being on stage for the first time might have taken a tremendous amount of courage. For others, it might take courage to be kind, to be compassionate, and to speak up on behalf of a friend. Courage is shown through bravery and in the challenge of a difficult task. The hardest form of courage, however, might well be in the courage it takes to be yourself. A strong motto for our young, growing students may well be, “I have the courage to be me!”
In The Lion King, Mufasa spoke to his son and future king, Simba, challenging him to look within to find his strength. “Never forget who you are,” said Mufasa. That, too, is the message we give to our students as they grow up into their best selves. It takes courage to be yourself rather than a copy of everyone else. Sadly, our students face, almost on a daily basis, images of what they perceive they should look like or how they should behave. Comparisons are made with others rather than embracing the beauty within. Girls compare themselves with pictures seen in magazines or through social media sources. They judge themselves by what they see in others. Boys want to be taller, faster, stronger, or bigger based on comparisons they, too, make with images before them.
As Mufasa pointed out to young Simba, your strength is found within. The character of Mufasa reminds us, “Never forget who you are.” The message our students began the week with in All-School Chapel, Have the courage to be you, is the message I hope they will keep tucked in the forefront of their minds going forward. Each student here, each boy and girl, is beautiful, strong, capable, and bright in his or her own right. Having the courage to embrace the beauty within, never forgetting who they are, is perhaps the greatest expression of courage our students can show, and it opens the door to a wealth of possibilities as life unfolds for each one.
Head of School