22nd January 21
Recalling my experience on operations twenty years ago, many of the soldiers in my charge spent many months in an unfamiliar, dangerous, and highly complex landscape facing threats and confronting their fears in ways they had not navigated before. Rigorous training had helped, but nothing could prepare them for the reality. Recalling subsequent operations, one could see how their previous experience had helped them cope with the unpredictability of conflict and where they became even more effective.
Albeit a very different backdrop, I am convinced that the situation that our children are currently navigating will provide them with the same galvanising effect that I saw in the young people I led all those years ago and where they will be more agile and more resilient to face inevitable hardships in future years and to go on to achieve in areas we can’t possibly imagine now. It’s comforting to know that many of our children’s great grandparents survived and flourished at the end of a period of huge global upheaval after two world wars; it was only yesterday that a government scientist equated the current situation, and our responsibilities as part of it, to the Blitz.
Many of you will not see these traits in your children yet. In fact, you will interpret quite the opposite at times as we recognise that children respond to situations in very different ways. But there is hope. If we can collectively continue to help and support our children over the next few weeks, they can become part of a stronger, more sanguine, more emotionally aware, and responsible generation. There is much room for optimism.
Mr Peter Thacker