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Patience, Coronavirus and the Kestrel of Hope

A guest post from Andrew - Bernie - Bernard about the power of hope and patience at times such as these and what we can all learn from young Billy Casper.

Spoiler Alert*

There is a scene in the Barry Hine novel A Kestrel for a Knave (or Kes if you are more a film buff) where Billy Casper, our downtrodden hero, makes a decision with huge consequences.

After Billy has suffered deadly (*to the poor falcon) vengeance of his brother whose betting money he had spent on chips, he goes for a long walk and ends up inside the boarded-up Palace picture house. Here he plays an imaginary film in his head alongside his missing father and then trudges back home, buries his hawk and goes to bed.

Despondent. Resigned. Drained. Dreaming of a better tomorrow.

I can honestly say I think we all know how he feels, at least once a day.

As we work through the current global pandemic which has caused virtually everyone’s life to change – routines, home life, stress, lack of purpose – we all need to believe that we will get through this and that things will return to some sort of normality, whatever ‘normal’ is from now on.

It’s clear that COVID-19 has spread so quickly through the way the Western world lives, travels and interacts – fast-paced and always focused on the juggling balls we are responsible for, meanwhile largely forgetting that there are entire groups of people who work to support society day in, day out and who are often taken for granted, ignored or, worse, maligned as ‘unskilled’ and inferior.

All the more so if they happen to have a different coloured skin, a different surname, a different place of birth, a different God

The realisation in many that the key workers we all depend on for a functioning society are essential skilled people is hopefully something our wider society understand more fully now and we will all continue to say ‘Thank you’ to shop workers, ask ‘How are you?’ to hassled Post Office staff, be more considerate of the refuse collectors and the cleaners keeping us not just clean but free from disease, and continue to treat the NHS and other public servants (including, of course, educators) with the respect we’re showing them now.

As we all adapt to the current ‘weird-normal’, it’s important that we try to be patient with ourselves, our families and friends and the way we’re all approaching the changes we are being encouraged to take. I put it like this because – currently – we are being ‘encouraged’ rather than forced to act responsibly, underpinned by the oft-spouted mantra ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’ (so much better than ‘Get Covid done!’).

I hope that groups of people who pretend the rules don’t apply to them indulging in sunbathing, picnics and barbecues in parks and on beaches don’t provoke a knee-jerk shutdown, likely to build more resentment and disobedience.

Instead, I hope we will find it in us to be patient, despite what was a ‘me too, have it now, never sleep, next best thing world we had had had foisted on us in the West that we had all taken as the way things were. (Re)learning quickly to display patience now means the lock-downs and measures being taken will be reduced more quickly, and our freedom will be returned.

An adapted and different freedom, especially in the early stages, but freedom nonetheless.

So, what does this have to do with Billy Casper?

Billy trained a falcon from the nest, through fledging and into adulthood. He parented and cared for something that wasn’t able to say ‘Thank you’. Billy shared with that bird the kindness and patience so often denied him.

He created his own freedom through his falcon. His spirits and self-worth lifted as Kes flew away and returned to his gloved hand. He created that love, that respect and that hope through his investment.

Love leads to love; respect leads to respect; hope leads to hope.

Maybe with Coronavirus, we’re now at the point where Billy’s gone to bed?

Despondent. Resigned. Drained. Dreaming of a better tomorrow.

Like the kestrel in the story, you can be a beacon of hope and possibility for someone who doesn’t have any. Like Mr Farthing, Billy’s teacher who is impressed with Billy’s commitment to his falcon, you can encourage others with your kind words. Like Billy, we all need to find the reserves of strength and resilience to get through this crisis with patience.

People are scared and confused. Today, try and be kind, patient and look forward with some positivity and hope. Only when we’ve made our own hope, can we then share it with those around us. [ITL]

The usual strap-line for Bernie's business Innovative Enterprise is ‘Bringing The Future to Life’ but as the future seems somewhat unknown, he has decided to change it to 'Inspiring people to bring hope and kindness to life'. If you want to join him, he's on @EnterpriseSBox on Twitter and all the links and contact details are on there.

Make a booking, ask a question, panic. All acceptable.

Give us a call on +44 (0)1267 211432 or drop us a line at learn@independentthinking.co.uk.

We promise to get back to you reassuringly quickly.