We have been talking a lot about leadership and personal role models recently.
Sir Ernest Shackleton seems to have captured the imagination of your children in the last few weeks. His intrepid expeditions in 1914-16 highlight an extraordinary leader and visionary, despite many thinking his mission was a colossal failure. His sense of endurance knew no limits, but whilst he is rightly honoured in the halls of history and fame, he was not alone during these life-changing events. It was a dedicated and determined team that walked, sailed and triumphantly survived alongside him to the finish line. Whilst Shackleton (an alumnus of Dulwich College in London) is praised for fostering the strongest mindset during times of real adversity, his team showed up and worked together. In view of the rather alarming job advertisement Shackleton posted for recruits for his expedition (pictured), it is nothing short of a miracle quite frankly, that he a) got anyone to apply in the first place and b) moved this rather eclectic crew to success, against all the odds. Whether it was talent or sheer luck that facilitated this is hard to know, but the challenge was worthy of a leader and a team and everything else seemed to take care of itself.
When we talk to children about success and leadership, it is important we scale this right down. Normally, we get things right by getting them wrong at first. Success can be defined in many much smaller ways and the most common link would appear to be the ability to touch the lives of others. This may be everything you do as parents to nurture and inspire your children, this may be good results on the sports field or in the classroom and it may also be how we have chosen to help those around us and showing kindness. Nobody forgets the smaller, grounded daily successes – if Shackleton did not have these early life experiences, he would not have been successful on his far larger expedition. Shackleton and many leaders we know embody this quote to its core and I think it is a strong reminder of all we try to achieve with your children every day – ‘talent gets you through the door, but character keeps you in the room.’
From one role model to another, this week cannot pass without reference to the very sad death of Kobe Bryant, the retired Los Angeles Lakers Star, one of the best NBA players of all time. As a British lady living in New York I have been moved by the fitting tributes to this sporting legend and his daughter, alongside all others that were in the crash in California last weekend. So many tributes have been spotted around the country, including Madison Square Garden here in New York, which lit up in the Lakers colours (purple and gold) and held a 24- second moment of silence before the Knicks game on Sunday night. The Bryant Park Subway sign was also changed, which is a poignant image to share. Kobe was known for being one of the best basketball players in the history of the NBA. He played guard for the LA Lakers for 20 years and won 5 NBA championships with them. He was known for his tough defense, vertical leap, and ability to score winning baskets at the end of a game. After a wildly successful 20- year NBA career, Kobe retired at the end of the 2016 NBA season. He scored 60 points in his final game on April 13th, 2016. He is the youngest player to score 26,000 career points. He was successful because he touched the lives of so many, he loved what he did, he loved his family and led the way for so many around him across the world. It highlights the tremendous and unifying power that sport offers global communities, the respect for achievement and the overwhelming power it has, to inspire.