Imagine what life would be like at the RGS if we were all the same, with each person having the same interests and passions, laughing at the same jokes and enjoying the same food. Yes, admittedly, we would have a lot in common, but that would not necessarily lead to a very enjoyable school experience, we would never be able to learn from each other, nor would we be able to make the most out of our time at the RGS and more importantly grow as individuals; in short, there would be no progression. For us to succeed and flourish, we must recognise and embrace our differences, treating each other with the respect we all deserve. Our theme for this week is, therefore, inclusivity.
As a young orphaned boy, Mowgli was abandoned in the wild jungle. Feeble, frail and forsaken he was trying to be self-dependent, navigating the dangers of the wild. As you may expect, his chances of survival were minimal. He endured suffering, hardship and famine. If it wasn’t for the mother wolf who decided to take him on, treating him equally, not showing favouritism and raising him as one of her own, he would have died.
This tale by Rudyard Kipling, describing how Mowgli was reared by wolves and taught the ways of the jungle by his powerful, predatory beasts, is a prime example of creating an inclusive atmosphere, where one can feel valued and respected. By celebrating their differences, the wolf pack nurtured and enabled Mowgli to reach his full potential: to labour night and day and protect the jungle come wind, come weather.
Although diversity is discussed more frequently than inclusivity, I think the concept of inclusivity is just as important. For me, diversity emphasises differences between one another, whereas inclusivity emphasises commonality in the face of difference. Similar to how the wolves adopted Mowgli, including him in their way of life, this subtle difference shows that in order for a group to reach its full potential, one needs to embrace inclusivity too.
We are immensely privileged here at the RGS that all of our different skills, backgrounds and perspectives are nurtured, encouraged and valued. By showing each other respect and loving your neighbour as you love yourself, we can build a more inclusive sense of community within the RGS, establishing a culture of acceptance and belonging.
In this light, I would like to end with a quote from Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the UN, “We may have different religions, different languages, different coloured skin, but we all belong to one human race.”