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Knowledge gained by study.

When we met together for a final, early end to term, assembly on Friday I reminded you all that as human beings we are not simply the product of where and when we were born, the culture or group with which we most closely identify, but rather we become who we are by the way in which we respond to the challenges and obstacles we face in life. Right now we are all facing a situation that no one alive has ever faced before. The way in which we respond to this situation will define our characters and society as a whole for a long time to come.

Everyone is different. Some people instantly panic when they are faced with a new challenge. Others take a moment to calmly reflect and consider their response. Others jump straight in to act- sometimes with positive and sometimes with negative consequences.

Study requires a sense of self discipline that comes more easily to some than it does to others. However, it is not a ‘naturally occurring’ ability. The most accomplished scholars have had to train themselves to overcome the distractions that can so easily take us away from the acquisition of new knowledge. Those who study best are not those who were born with an innate ability to learn, but those who have developed organisational skills which enable them to discipline themselves to put aside time for a range of different activities.

So, plan your day! Make a list of the things you want to accomplish during your isolation. The most amazing thing in the world- knowledge- is at our fingertips through the internet. Don’t restrict your learning to the packs of work you’ve been given. If something interests, you find out more. If you’ve struggled to make progress in learning another language use this time to really focus on that. If you’ve got a musical instrument at home that you’ve always wanted to play but just never got around to learning, now’s your opportunity.

The philosopher Aristotle encouraged us to be ‘virtuous people’. A virtuous person is someone who acts in a virtuous way. However, Aristotle said we are not naturally virtuous. We need instead to train ourselves in virtuous behaviour. He said there were intellectual and moral virtues. The intellectual virtues were connected to study and learning. Imitate what you learn- put it into practice.

It’s important to make the most of every opportunity. Isolation forces us to be more restricted than usual. It focuses us, with fewer distractions. Use this time wisely to become the expert you always wanted to be!

How will you exercise this Lanfranc value whilst in isolation?